Or if you don’t have 29 minutes to kill like I do, then maybe have me or someone else getting paid peanuts and not really informed on the issues, but with a bit more of a social reach, explain that for you.
Yeah, I’m talking about print journalists and their 500 words or the TV anchors and their 5-second sound bites.
You don’t want that shit, you want someone that can listen and figure out what the hell’s going on. That’s why I cracked open a cold one and got to work.
A Slow Start (1:00)
One thing you quickly notice, around 3 minutes in, is how Bullock mentions how precious time is. It’s at about that point that you’d think about changing the station, if you were listening on the radio.
Bullock talks slowly, like the tortoise happily trotting along while the hare sleeps. But then he got going, mentioning a whole list of accomplishments:
- Record investments in education
- Fixing the pensions system without raising taxes
- Eliminating business equipment tax
- Leaving $300 million in the bank
- Being recognized as the most fiscally prudent state in nation
Bullock mentioned how he’s trying to make awareness of college a big thing. High school students need to know they can go to school…and get a shit-ton of student debt, which goes to bankers…that’s my bit there on that last part.
Having the state’s checkbook on line, which creates transparency, is something Bullock mentions, which I liked.
Some of the failures or frustrations that Bullock mentions coming out of the 2013 session include:
- Not getting Medicaid expansion passed
- 70,000 Montanans without heathcare
- More transparency is needed in campaign system
- The slow speed of state government
Bullock's Reaction to Election 2014 (7:00)
Bullock touts our gaining seats in the legislature while pointing out that Obama lost Montana by 14% when he himself won as governor. What does this mean? It means we need to figure out why 100,000 fewer Montanans voted in 2014.
Bullock is frustrated that people think their vote doesn’t matter, and he mentions those tight races we saw in a couple districts, including my own here in Missoula (SD 49). But then we conveniently moved on before offering solutions to get people to vote more.
Talking Montana's 2015 Budget (9:00)
- Infrastructure is a big priority;
- Resources to create jobs;
- Jobs for mental health;
- Early education;
- Continued money management.
GOP spokesman Schipp says the budget is reckless, liberal spending, and that’s mentioned. Debby Barrett wants a smaller list and just to pay cash, and that’s mentioned.
What the hell are they talking about here?
Bullock wants to borrow 2/3 of the money needed for infrastructure, and he wants to do this because taking advantage of record-low interest rates will actually save us money…long-term.
He claims that saves $29 million for counties just by lowering interest rates. Bullock says he had to veto $150 million in expenditures to get that $300 million surplus, with a 17% return, based off the 4% borrow limit you get now.
Long-term investments make sense to pay off long-term, Bullock says, and he points to about 90 different bond programs over the past 2 years, including a few water projects that GOP were happy to borrow on.
This all means we have record low interest rates because of how we managed our money, and Bullock says any businessman or woman would do the same as he wants to.
I dunno. I like the idea of using the money we have now to pay for what we want, taking as little extra debt on as possible…but that’s just me. I figure, it’s always better to start from zero saving up again than to keep saving up when you’ve got a cloud of debt over your head.
But then I live in perpetual debt because of college, so there’s that to consider. And then I don't really care if bankers have to make their own money and...well, this is how bankers make their own money, they convince governments to borrow so they make interest.
Jesus didn't like usury and I don't either. Those guys should get real jobs, and the Democratic party needs to get out of bed with those folks. They need to get in bed with real people in this country, people that work each day and do the hard work we need to do to go forward. Those aren't bankers, and I hope we pay as we go and say fuck those suits.
Medicare Expansion (missed time)
It does take federal money, we know that, but that goes to those struggling rural hospitals, Bullock explains for a bit.
Bullock says how our tax dollars will cover other states, and he mentions how those GOP governors took that federal money because their economies needed it. Makes sense to me.
Eastern Montana Problems (16:00)
This is a big problem that few know about. Representative Kimberly Dudik just did a benefit 5-K run in Missoula to raise money and awareness for this, although the weather wasn’t very cooperative.
Hopefully we get more cooperation from lawmakers to address this issue, and of the media to highlight it.
Bullock mentions how there’s issues involving the Flathead as well, and perhaps this gets to how downtrodden many groups in the state are, Indians being a big one. This would be a good issue to report on, but it’s not sexy enough for newspaper and TV advertisers, so traditional media won’t touch it. We’ll see if that continues.
MT Infrastructure and Education and Spending (18:30)
So many more states fund early education, and one reason is because it makes it so more kids can read. And if you can read, you won’t drop out of school. And before that, you won’t disrupt someone else’s learner before you drop out.
That drives up social services costs and correctional services costs. It’s a huge societal cost.
Montana Main Street was a project started, and it’s Bullock’s idea of putting a business plan together, trying to get a bottom-up approach to what Montana’s strengths and weaknesses were. It was to serve as a blueprint to build off of, and something that those coming into the governor’s office later on can take advantage of.
At this point the host talked for a long time and then Bullock started talking about 2-year and 4-year colleges and what students need to do so they can stay in Montana.
It got pretty rambling around this point, 24 minutes or so in, and then they got into some Farm Bill stuff.
We can managed the state well, and we need to manage that well, but we also need to know that the feds have to manage things to…not only because of cost issues, but because it’s the promise they made to us more than a century ago.
Around 26 minutes in Bullock starts to talk about investments in the future to make Montana better into the future. The governor mentions how he’ll be finished as governor when his oldest kid is finished with high school, if he gets that second term.
It was a pretty good show, and maybe you’ll learn something.