Originally published in the print 5/5/17 edition of Yellowstone County News.
By: Senate and House Majority Leadership (Senate: President Scott Sales, Majority Leader Fred Thomas, Pro Tem Bob Keenan; House: Speaker Austin Knudsen, Majority Leader Ron Ehli, Pro Tem Greg Hertz)
As the 2017 legislative session has come to an end, we want to make sure that Montanans have a clear view of what’s happened the past few months in Helena. The mission of the Senate and House Republicans from Day One has been to help create more opportunities for all Montanans by making our state a better place to work, live and do business. Government should work in service to the people, not the other way around. In large part, this means fighting against policies that increase taxes, grow government and take from the citizens of Montana.
When the legislators arrived in January, we were faced with a budget on the brink of crisis. Our $300 million cash reserve had been spent almost entirely down after the legislators left town in 2015. As a fix, Gov. Steve Bullock was proposing adding millions in new taxes – including sales taxes – to make up for missing revenue. This move didn’t fly with the majority Republican Legislature, which chose to closely examine the workings of state government and find areas where efficiency could be improved before asking Montanans for more of their hard earned money.
Through the work of strong conservative leadership, the legislature created a two-year budget that balances and funds essential programs, while leaving a cushion for … Read full Op Ed in YCN print and/or online edition by subscribing here.