Legislature Montana Politics

Montana budget woes

Photo by Don Pogreba
Written by Pete Talbot
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It’s bad and it will hit the most vulnerable the hardest, maybe ’cause foster kids, teen mothers and the disabled don’t have lobbyists and don’t contribute much money to campaigns.

Analysis from the Montana Budget and Policy Center paints a disturbing picture. It looks at what an additional 10 percent across-the-board budget cut, on top of an already $218 million reduction, would mean to Montana communities.

Last night in Missoula, grim-faced area legislators talked to local Democrats about the budget’s repercussions and offered some solutions. It’s essential, they say, that a broad coalition of service providers — and their clients, and client families and friends — put pressure on legislators to raise revenue. That means Aging Services, Medicaid recipients, Children Advocacy Centers, foster care programs, hospice services, domestic violence shelters … it’s an exhaustive list of providers that help the most fragile and needy Montanans.

It will require a special session of the legislature, called by Gov. Bullock, to find additional revenue sources. I’m leery of this happening. Until Republican legislators start feeling the pain personally — reduced services to the grandchild with autism or grandmother in assisted living — they’re not likely to come back to the table. For many in need, it may come too late.

From the Budget and Policy Center:

While some cuts may be inevitable, common sense measures to increase the tobacco tax and close tax loopholes would mitigate deeper cuts that will hurt our communities. These proposals should be part of the conversation. There are solutions to ensure that our tax system is fair, raise critical revenue, and help Montana be the state we all love to live in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Pete Talbot

'Papa’ Pete Talbot is first and foremost a grandfather to five wonderful grandchildren. Like many Montanans, he has held numerous jobs over the years: film and video producer, a partner in a marketing and advertising firm, a builder and a property manager. He’s served on local and statewide Democratic Party boards. Pete has also been blogging at various sites for over a decade. Ping-pong and skiing are his favorite diversions. He enjoys bourbon.

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