Montana has always prided itself on its biannual, 90-day citizen legislature. And in those three months, our hard-working representatives pass the policies and budget that will carry us for two years. You would think with time, money, and resources being scant, that the body would frown upon a waste of those commodities.
Well, Day 3 of the Legislature might prove you wrong.
Senator Scott Sales (Senate President) stated that he would be asking the Montana Legislature for support for a Southern border wall AND Montana taxpayer dollars to pay for it – to the tune of $8 million. The State of Montana budget is a small (comparatively) state budget of only $6.4 billion (Idaho, Dakotas, Wyoming all have larger budgets/spending).
Citizens were asked to tighten their belts during 2017 and 2018 and shoulder the severe cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services and other critical services that the most vulnerable citizens rely on. But it’s A-OK for Sales to throw $8 million at a wall that the majority of Americans do not want to fund. Americans have asked their D.C. representation for effective border security and immigration reform – neither of which is solved with a physical, easily-circumvented WALL. It’s time for research and expert opinions on the reform measures that will be effective on the Southern border.
If Senator Sales desires to throw taxpayer money at projects — there’s a HUGE cut list from the 2017 session that could use his support.
House Minority Leader Casey Schreiner of Great Falls immediately addressed the proposal with tact and a much-needed reality check:
“State dollars are a finite resource; we had draconian cuts for human services (during the 2017 special session),” he told MTN News. “Yet we’re going to send money out-of-state for some unknown reason. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
Schreiner called Sales’ proposal “political shenanigans” and that the Legislature has better things to do and on which to spend public funds. “In my opening-day speech, I said we are focused on Montana issues and how we create Montana-focused solutions,” he said. “We don’t see this as either.”
The MT Legislature as a whole should reprimand Sales for wasting Montanans’ time, resources, and money. With only 90 days to SERVE the citizens of this great state — every single day, conversation, debate, and committee moment is crucial. Quit the waste and get to work FOR the people.
Read more on today’s Legislative fireworks from KRTV.
Want to contact Senator Sales and make sure your time isn’t being wasted? Here you go.