Once Again, Montana Chamber Shows True Colors

If anybody still has doubts that the Montana Chamber of Commerce is merely a Republican political group that cross-dresses as a group that supposedly advocates for main street businesses, consider what happened in the waning days of the session.

Three weeks ago, a majority-Republican committee snuck into a budget bill a tax hike on every small business, a measure that would have increased these businesses’ work comp premiums 2.75 percent.

Worse, this measure, done in the dark of night and with no discussion on the floor of either house, came on the heels of the Governor signing the largest work comp reform in Montana history, a landmark reform that is expected to lower work comp rates substantially, and soon.

The Chamber made no opposition to the 2.75 percent premium tax. Not when it was inserted. Not when it was voted up by the Republican conference committee. Not when it passed the Republican dominated House and Senate. Not even when it hit the Governors desk. Nor did they even express an opinion when the Governor called a press conference to explain to citizens that he would veto this Republican tax hike and thus save every small business owner in Montana some hard-earned dough.

And here is a screenshot of the Montana Chamber’s website. They present a long list of “Montana Business and Chamber Headlines” from state newspapers. Oddly, amid a list that spans the last six months, there is not a single link to any story about the work comp premium tax veto; nor about the governor’s historic bi-partisan work comp reform; nor about the governor signing the bill to decrease the business equipment tax; nor about the governors proposal at the outset of the session, to completely eliminate the business equipment tax.

In fact the Chamber has a very obvious modus operandi. When Republicans do something that can be spun as pro-business, the Chamber is all over it, trumpeting it to their membership in e-mails, press releases, newsletters, op-eds, etc. Same when Democrats do something interpreted by the Chamber as bad for business.

But when Republicans do something bad for business, or when Democrats do something good for business, not a peep. Instead, as with the premium tax, Webb Brown and his conservative brownshirts act like cats who swallowed a canary. Just sit tight and hope no Montana business owner contacts the Chamber (supposedly a lobbying group that represents business owners) to inquiry as to why the Chamber didn’t try to stop Republican legislators when they voted for a tax on work comp premiums.

This is nothing new of course. When a few years ago, the national chamber of commerce rated Montana as the best state in America to start a business, the Montana chamber made every effort not to publicize this fact. There wasn’t a word of it spoken by anyone who works for the chamber. In essence, the chamber decided to take a pass one of the biggest opportunities for boosterism that has ever availed our state.

So remember, as currently operated, the Montana Chamber is not an ally of Montana small business. It is nothing more than a Republican partisan machine, for whom party politics is the first order of business.

Posted: May 20, 2011 at 12:58 pm

This post was written by Cowgirl

8 thoughts on “Once Again, Montana Chamber Shows True Colors

  1. gumbo

    Repub hacks they are. No news there. If bullock goes for gov, they will go for broke trying to beat him. They can’t stand the thought of 12 years or more of a successful government by a dem executives.

  2. Brad

    What is the chamber choices scoop-come one-you can’t just throw out something and not give the whole story.

  3. Publius II

    Sad but true, Montana’s very own’ Chamber of Horrors’ and disciples of ALEC……

  4. Jon Bennion

    Didn’t you guys already get whacked once by an ethics complaint by doing political work with taxpayer money? Looks like you’re going to have another one coming your way. You’re not even hiding the fact that these posts are generated from the Governor’s office anymore (“….Not even when it hit the Governors desk. Nor did they even express an opinion when the Governor called a press conference to explain to citizens that he would veto this Republican tax hike and thus save every small business owner in Montana some hard-earned dough.”) Besides, one of your former blogging partners already ratted you out to me. Might want to rethink this whole anonymous blogging thing on state time, especially since you don’t even report the truth (see the link below that went out to all of our members when the veto of HB 604 went through).

    http://www.montanachamber.com/What_We_Do/Government_Relations_Update

    1. interested party

      Complaints do not a lawsuit make. Bob Wagner believes that “the truth” is subject to legislative manipulation at taxpayer expense while this blog does not.

      Consider self-administering Demerol with a Safeway bag over your head.

    2. Gumbo

      JB-so who’s the rat and what’d they say? and how about your opinion on the merits of the Cowgirl’s post? Doesn’t sound like you think she was wrong on any of it, just that she is batting for the gov.

  5. Kyle42

    Haha. Jon Bennion is such a parnoid tool. Conspiracy theory much dude. Prove your allegations.

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