State with Crumbling Bridges and Unfunded Veterans Home Anxious to Preserve Confederate Monument and Cement Ski Resort Jesus

Rehberg loves Big Mountain Jesus

As Montana’s bridges, roads, and mental health facilities overflow beyond capacity or crumble and deteriorate, there is a mounting sense of urgency over a plaster Jesus statue paid for by the anti-choice fraternal order of the Knights of Kolumbus and a confederate fountain in Helena paid for by a pro-segregation group.

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Across the state, whose mental health facilities of last resort are rickety antiques plagued by dangerous overcrowding, Montana’s politicians are increasingly recognizing that maintaining a cement statue of Jesus in a ski resort and a confederate monument in the state capital should be the state’s top priorities.

Prominent GOP officials apparently favor the preservation of confederate propaganda over extravagant pet projects like a home for actually living veterans in their senior years, the building of which would also create jobs.

 confederate fountain

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26 Comments on "State with Crumbling Bridges and Unfunded Veterans Home Anxious to Preserve Confederate Monument and Cement Ski Resort Jesus"

  1. A disgrace, especially when ‘teabagging’ fools – like well meaning but seriously misguided grandparents – screaming about lack of child care enforcement, and they can THANK the GOP, especially the ‘baggers’ for CUTTING budget for maintaining and adding for enforcement staff to protect our children, DAMN THEM!

  2. Who originally brought the lawsuit against the “Cement Jesus”?

    Weren’t they concerned about the roads and bridges?

    • The FFRF was the group that originally brought the lawsuit, and no they weren’t concerned about roads and bridges. There’s no reason that they should have been. They’re more concerned about what appears to be a flagrant violation of the United States Constitution. The greater concern is who deemed it a good idea to spend massive amounts of tax payer dollars to defend a big cement statue of Jesus on government land?

  3. I agree with Swede. Maintenance costs of the statue and the fountain are trivial, especially the fountain. It would cost a lot more to tear it down that it does to keep the water flowing in it. It’s the frivolous lawsuits that is where the costs come from.

    • “It would cost a lot more to tear it down that it does to keep the water flowing in it.”

      I wonder how much it would cost to just put a skim coat of cement or something over the confederate inscription…

      • I think we should commission a company to make 100,000 interpretive signs, and place them at every old clearcut or abandoned mine in the state, and have them read something like “While historic logging and mining were important to a young nation’s growth and provided a living for our ancestors, we now recognize that logging does not promote healthy forests and mining may kill fish and contribute to global warming. We wring our hands in despair.”

        We can then hire the Montana Conservation Corps to go around the state and put the signs up. A win-win for everyone but the taxpayers!

  4. Funding for roads and bridges comes exclusively from state and federal fuel taxes paid by the consumers. For commercial diesel fuel it is also tied to the number of miles driven in a state for apportionment purposes. The problem is that because of the “no new taxes” pledge made to a nobody named Grover Nordquist, the tax rate per gallon has not been raised since the 1990’s. To even fund on-going transportation needs Congress is spiriting away funds from other sources (also strapped) with Band-Aid measures. Anyone who signs the Nordquist pledge should automatically be removed from any thinking person’s list of potential candidates to support.

    • If all that fuel tax money that we send to Washington and Helena was used for roads and bridges I-90 would be 6 lanes border to border. But it’s not. It’s sent away in a torrent and comes back in dribbles.

    • Another on topic, on time Comment, thankyou Old Line Democrat!
      From what I’ve gathered, Mr. Trump is the only Republican Candidate
      running for USA Presidency, that has not signed groveling Grover’s
      contract to not raise taxes on those who can afford pre-Reagan IRS
      taxes.

  5. Now here you are again, Mr. Swede, playing fast and loose with the numbers and assertions. Montana on average gets about $1.70 or so back for every tax dollar that is “sent to Washington.” In regards to fuel tax, Montana keeps all of the money it collects and then receives $.86 in federal fuel tax monies for every $.17 of state money spent on federal participation projects. The rest of the state money goes to maintenance and operations and anything else the Legislature can convince itself is “highway related” like funding the highway patrol and printing the highway maps, which used to be the responsibility of Justice and Commerce respectively.

    I recognize hyperbole as much as the next guy but why would anyone think we need six lanes of interstate border to border. It’s the connecting routes that are of concern and where the focus for reconstruction lies. Our Interstates (15, 90 and 94) need regular maintenance but are generally in better shape for the miles involved than most states in the union.

    Now I understand why other posters on this board continually call you out on whoppers and irrelevant references to conservative websites. You just can’t see beyond what Fox News and Rush Limbaugh tell you.

    • I would like to see more of an effort on behalf of our national representatives to raise the gas tax. That way our state legislators don’t have to. It’s a shame that the feds have decided infrastructure in this country no longer matters. Sadly, the downward trend parallels an upward trend in building infrastructure overseas. Why is that? These are the questions Tester, Daines, and Zinke need to be asking in Washington, the latter two especially since they claim to be fiscal conservatives.

      25 years of no increases to the federal gas tax makes no sense. Of course, we don’t need to raise that tax at all, for closing the rich’s loopholes and spending in a sane manner would do away with that need. It’d probably fund our schools too, and do much in the way of fixing Social Security.

      These things are never on the agenda, however. It’s always Iran or immigrants or some other nonsensical detractor issue. Meanwhile the country crumbles.

  6. My Gawd, Big Swede, do you even read the stuff you cite? You state that if Mt kept all the money it sends to Washington, we’d have 6 lane interstates. When Old Line Democrat points out your errors, you then cite an article from taxfoundation.org.

    Well, I read the article and what it states is that MT spends a lot more on roads than it gets from gas taxes. Of course, the worst offenders are Alaska and Wyoming. And why are they the worst? Big areas with low population.

    In fact, nationwide, states only collect $49 billion in gas taxes and fees, but spend $155 billion on roads. The extra money comes from federal and state general funds. The article you cite states that Montana only raises 23% of the money it spends on roads from gas taxes and fees. So, where are those 6 lane highways coming from?

  7. The real question is: why is Montana’s Attorney General involved in the case at all since the statue isn’t on state land and doesn’t involve any state question? the entire case was about whether the foret Service allowing the statue on federal land was endorsement of a religion. Why is the AG wasting resources and tax money in a case in which Montana had no interest?

  8. Old Line Democrat | September 2, 2015 3:02 PM at 3:02 PM |

    I too went back and read the article Swede referred us to. If you look in the footnotes you can see that they were forced to recalculate their numbers to include federal fuel taxes to provide more context and make the assertion a little more accurate. While I cannot comment on other states, Montana does not spend general fund monies on transportation. All spending on transportation is made through the combination of state and federal fuel taxes: 18 cents federal, 25 cents Montana per gallon is collected plus fees for gross weight, license and excise taxes. These revenues are continuing to diminish as a result of the fact that the federal tax is too low due to inflation of costs, fuel efficiency is higher, alternative fuel use, and some electric/hybrid influence, all of which lessen revenue but still cause impact to the highway facilities. It is true that the present proposed federal Transportation bill is seeking to be funded by taking revenue from other programs rather than simply raising the fuel tax because of the NO NEW TAXES pledge I referred to before and which when uttered aloud was a major part of the downfall of “Poppy” Bush’s re-election campaign. One look at the taxfoundation.org product cited by Swede demonstrates their lack of credibility as a source of accurate information.

  9. Look at the video at the link for an explanation about how the highway trust fund is managed. Read it and weep.

  10. In parallel with the issue raised by this post – what to do about a confederate monument and a statue of Jesus – I’m also hearing frustration with government, with taxation, with priorities, with money-buys-results politics. These problems are all fed by the way that we fund elections. The small number of people who finance elections have the politician’s ear.

    Let’s work to end the undue influence of money in politics. It favors the rich who fund election campaigns and works against the interests of working people – of the voters that politicians are supposed to represent.

    Here are two initiatives aimed at changing the money-buys-results political system that are worth looking at:

    1) The “Referendum President.”

    Lawrence Lessig is floating the idea of running for President (as a Democrat) with only one thing on his platform of what he would accomplish: to pass a bill that gives everyone equal access to voting and equal representation. The bill would include reforming campaign finance, ending gerrymandering, having elections on a national holiday, and a few other things. He says that if he can raise a million dollars by Labor Day, then he’ll run. He’s currently at about $755,000. He’s already polled at 1% in a national poll. If he polls at 1% or above in two more national polls before the debates, he’ll be included in the debates. Even if he doesn’t win, having him in the debates talking about campaign finance will bring the issue to the forefront and change the way the topic is addressed. More info at:
    http://www.lessigforpresident.com

    2) A congress committed to reform.

    The MAYDAY PAC is working to elect representatives in congress who support changing the way campaigns are financed. They’ve identified Rep. Ryan Zinke as someone who doesn’t currently support reform, but might with enough insistence from his constituents.
    More info at:
    http://www.mayday.us

  11. When I ran for the Montana State Legislature in 2014, I was sent “The Pledge” for my signature. I changed the wording a bit: NO NEW TAX BREAKS for those earning over $1,000,000.00. Then I added a note to the senders: “Shame on YOU!” Then I sent it back. I also made a copy, and posted it on the wall in my business. If/when they send me another pledge to sign during my run for the Legislature in 2016, I will do the same thing again.

  12. anyone who lends more credence to their pledge to Grover than their pledge to defend the Constitution is committing treason and should be removed from office. As for campaign finance reform I would also add Represent.US
    and the move to amend organization. and of course Bernie Sanders to the list of things that will help.

    • Represent.us and Move to Amend are both good organizations. One of the things that I like about Lessig’s plan is that it doesn’t require a constitutional amendment. And if he’s successful, it makes a constitutional amendment easier to pull off.

      Bernie Sanders is also pushing for campaign finance reform. That isn’t the only thing that he’s pushing for though, so it’s not clear where it will be in his list of priorities.

      Lessig is ONLY focused on fixing the political system so that congress is truly accountable to the people. After he gets that legislation passed, he steps down and the Vice President becomes the President. So if you like Bernie Sanders, the best ticket is Lessig as President, Sanders as Vice President. Lessig handles gets congress unhooked from the money flood, so that Sanders can work on all the other stuff.

      • And actually, the same logic applies for any of the other Democratic candidates. Lessig handles getting congress unhooked from the money flood, so that the other candidate can work on all the other stuff.
        Fix Democracy. First.

  13. That plaster Jesus is awfully white.

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