The Republican champions of the oil and gas industry reacted predictably to Governor Schweitzer’s proposal to add a small surtax on oil and gas production to increase salaries for Montana teachers:
House Minority Leader Scott Sales, R-Bozeman, said Schweitzer’s proposal "is definitely a tax increase on the producers of oil and gas." "He’s not living up to his word, that’s for darn sure," Sales said. "If he really wants to shut down the oil and gas industry in this state, that would be a good first step.
It turns out that Republicans are doing what they have always done on education issues in Montana: rhetorically supporting higher salaries for teachers and increased funding for education, but failing to either propose or write any legislation to actually get it done. As Left in the West notes, a large number of Republicans say they support increased funding for teacher salaries and using natural resource development to pay for it, but they haven’t proposed anything to actually make it happen.
So, Dave Lewis of Helena, how do you propose “funding increase to teacher salaries”? What about you, Senator Brown?
Governor Schweitzer is absolutely right. If Republicans who claim to be serious about supporting education don’t support his proposal, they should submit one of their own, instead of continuing to use our schools for political gain.