Joe Balyeat: Champion of the Bus Staff

Three time Merit Scholar Joe Balyeat, so concerned about the plight of restaurant workers, voted to exempt tipped employees from inflationary increases in the minimum wage, to punish servers for their greedy behavior:

One Republican, Sen. Joe Balyeat of Bozeman, said he was supporting it in part because many waitresses don’t share tips with busboys and other back kitchen staff. He said it’s not right that the waitresses earn a lot more.

The measure passed the Senate Business, Labor, and Economic Affairs committee, with all six Republicans voting yes.

The Republicans at the Legislature are willing to simultaneously wail and gnash their teeth at the plight of the poor oil man while refusing to support people who work low-paying jobs.  Roy Brown voted to effectively reduce the take home pay of Montanans today, just days after arguing that a $1-a-barrel surtax on oil would devastate oil development in the state.

I wonder if Roy, Joe, and other Republican ‘leaders’ who consistently vote against the interests of working people can imagine what kind of devastation happens when someone loses a third of their paycheck.

If you appreciate an independent voice holding Montana politicians accountable and informing voters, and you can throw a few dollars a month our way, we would certainly appreciate it.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.


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  • Where did Montana get this idiot Joe Balyeat??? How many years did good old Joe work in the restaurant business??? I am sure he took a pay cut to work for the state of MT when he dropped out of the food service industry. It is us restaurant workers, after all, driving all the fancy trucks, living in the gated communities, leading the life of the rich and famous. SHAME on you republicans!!! Trying to take money from hard working lowest paid wage earners. I hope I get to wait on you someday….you tell me why I am not worth minimum wage!

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