Senate President Bob Story is peddling the same old spin to try to explain why Republicans in the Legislature refuse to respect the will of the voters and fund expansion of the state’s CHIP program:
Given the recent economic meltdown, I believe voters understand that it’s not responsible to begin a brand-new expensive program at this time. We are hard pressed to fund many of the current programs our citizens have depended on for years.
This isn’t a new strategy. In fact, it’s exactly what Republicans said before the initiative’s passage, in an attempt to scare voters into voting against the proposal. The first line of the 2008 Voter Information Packet made exactly the same claim:
During these unstable economic times, a large increase in the CHIP program is not fiscally responsible.
Memo to Senator Story: Montana voters overwhelmingly rejected your argument in November. Repackaging it now doesn’t change the fact that Montana voters think a responsible society should prioritize children’s health more than business tax cuts.
Senator Story didn’t stop at presenting an old argument as something new, though. He decided that his argument needed a straw person, as well:
Where do the Democrats propose to find an additional $35 million to fund the expanded CHIP program? Do we take it from our funding for nursing homes? From schools? From programs for the disabled?
It’s certainly possible that I missed the press release on the Rounda Report, but when did Republicans start supporting spending on any of these social services? If the Republicans in the Legislature had their way, we’d be making profound cuts in health insurance, education, and programs for the disabled.
Do the right thing, Senator Story. Respect the will of the voters and the health of Montana’s children.