That’s one strategy, but I’m not sure it’ll lead to a winning strategy in 2016.
So what can be done, what kinds of ideas can be put forth that might lead to some gains for Democrats in 2016, if not an outright rout?
I guess I’m asking…what issues can we talk about, what issues can we push, and what issues can we educate on? Because I personally believe there are a lot of Republicans that have real-world problems in their districts…but just don’t know where to begin when it comes to fixing them.
You hear a lot of talk about the old days in politics, when people would get together and they knew their kids’ names. Back then people could sit down over lunch and discuss the history of legislation, the politics around it, and the need for compromise to move the people forward.
You hear a lot of talk about that these days, but you don’t see a lot of action on it.
So what can be done? I’d like to see the alternative media of Montana come up with a game plan of how they plan to sway thinking on 2015 Montana legislative issues so people from both parties can have the ammunition they need to move the critical bills of the state forward.
And notice I say both parties on that. The election is over now, and that damn thing call ‘work’ has to start. It ain’t too sexy, but it does get the job done, so let’s start doing some, alright?
I want to talk about these issues and I hope other alternative media sources will as well:
- Healthy Montana Kids
- Childhood Education
- Montana Population Shifts
- The Needs of Eastern Counties
- The Needs of Western Counties
- Issues Facing the Hi-Line
I’m sure that list isn’t exhaustive, but now’s the time that freshly-elected legislators – and quite a few that’ve been around awhile – start to draft legislation, or at least talk about it.
Why not give them a leg-up by, oh…if not quite ‘pushing’ an agenda, at least suggesting one? For who else is going to do that? The governor? Jon Sesso or Chuck Hunter? (those are two of the top guys in the Democratic leadership, for all of you that don’t know).
I mean, that’s a perfectly good option…but what platform do they have? How often are you visiting their site or reading their words or hearing their pitch?
Yeah, I thought so. So that’s why I’m calling on the alternative media in Montana to begin pushing that message that they say isn’t being pushed.
On December 2 or so they’ll have legislative meetings in Helena to begin setting the agenda. Montana’s alternative media better damn well have its act together and be pushing what the mainstream media will not or cannot. Remember, they have corporate controllers as well, just like some of the members of our Congressional delegation.
So we have to figure out what the strong lobbying groups and organizations are pushing, if we agree with that, and if not, what we plant to do about it.
NFIB and the 2015 Montana Legislature
- Lower all taxes – personal, business and property…and thankfully they’ve got a lobbying team ready to draft that legislation right up for those too ignorant of the process or how to do so.
- Fight local-option taxes – this pretty much means they’ll block local governments from raising their own taxes, something that’s a very good idea here in Missoula.
- Cut spending before raising taxes – the NFIB would rather figure out waste and mismanagement and similar sayings before raising taxes.
So that’s a September 8 article of about three to four paragraphs and absolutely zero engagement. Some of those items sound prudent, and they have the boots on the ground to push them. The alternative media? Eh, not so much.
The MT Stockgrowers Association 2015 Legislative Agenda
Oh, c’mon – my grandpa was a rancher up in Havre and my uncle still is. But remember, this is a different kind of Democrat, one that adheres to older values of conservative spending, saving for tomorrow, and giving the communities what they need before we give them what they want.
What will the Montana Stockgrowers Association be pushing in the 2015 Montana Legislature? Well, they’re having their 130th Annual Convention in Billings from December 11 to 13, so they’ll probably talk about the following:
- Land Use
- Agricultural Policy
- Beef Production
- Sage Grouse Conservation
- Changes to EPA Water Jurisdiction (Exxon’s take) (NFIB’s take)
- Challenges for the National Beef Checkoff Program Structure
- Board of Livestock Budget Deficits
Now, I don’t know what half of those things are, but those folks down in Billings do and they’ll have their fancy-pants and suits walking the Capitol hallways come January 5th to around April 20 and I bet they’ll even be there by December.
That’s a month from now…what’s your plan to counteract their power, or any of those other groups’ power? Or were you just hoping it’d all work out and the lobbying efforts of others wouldn’t rain on your parade?
Follow those three links up there on water and see how wholly unprepared the government is compared to the corporations and the lobbying groups. I mean, you can see it right there within 2 seconds of going to those sites.
The Current Democratic Agenda
Shit, there ain’t nothing sexy about giving healthcare to old folks or young people or working stiffs. Nothing sexy about that at all. So how are you gonna get it to pass? Simple – you’re not. And since we already know that, any kind of work on that will be monumentally easy, mainly because any job that doesn’t require your heart to be in it is always easy, though extremely frustrating at the same time.
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And educating 4-year-olds? Give me a break. Since we sent Steve Daines and Ryan Zinke off to Washington we know that we don’t need to be educating our 4-year-olds, we need to be putting them to work. Why not get ‘em working in the mines again, or some ratty place with boarded-up windows and fire-trap doors? This is Montana, isn’t it…the state that’s open for business?
The Montana Chamber of Commerce 2015 Legislative Agenda
Yeah, business stuff, not real exciting. But I bet they’ll have some good food at their 2015 Business Days gathering in Helena on January 5 and 6, which will cost you $165, or $30 if you’re poor like me and just want to get one of the kiddie plates.
Maybe you could even have a say in the agenda that perhaps looks something like this:
- Tax Simplification – SB 282 will be back, although probably with a different name, but about the same agenda. That’s reducing our seven marginal tax rates to two, a reduction of the corporate tax rate from 6.75% to 6.5%
- Surplus Reduction – I like to use fancy and meaningless terms like this to describe eliminating any surpluses governments have. It’s a fancy tactics rich folks often employ so their trips to Hawaii each winter won’t hit them so hard in the pocketbook. Remember, the Montana Chamber of Commerce loves to kiss the ass of those folks.
- Tax Fairness – This is another cloak and dagger term used to bewilder and obfuscate, especially incoming freshmen legislators, or just incompetent Republicans, who do have the majority this year. In English it means reducing the time businesses can be audited from 5 years to 3 years. With large federal backlogs – again, incompetent federal policies hurt Montana – that just costs hardworking people, who often aren’t audited. Remember, the overwhelming majority of audits happen to people that break the rules, and then hire lawyers to get away with it. In Montana this means HB 268 will be back, something Democrats don’t like because it gives corporations the same status as sole proprietorships and individuals. In other words, those rich folks want yet another break at the working man’s expense. Well fuck you!
- Business Equipment Tax – This rate is currently 1.5%, and it was recently reduced from 2%. Proponents argue that it’ll help businesses expand and hire more. I don’t know – I think it’s a fancy accounting technique that will allow people to shift assets and liabilities around on their balance sheets in such a way that short term gains rise but long-term, shit hits the fan. I guess we could take that $11 million a year in tax relief, although that’s a rather paltry sum compared to $17 to $40 million Oregon will make from legal marijuana this year. Why does that matter? Well, because we wouldn’t have to argue over this piddly-shit every two years if we’d get our act together.
Alright, at this point I could go on and tell you about Early Childhood Education, OSHA enforcement issues, and Medicaid expansion, but what the hell’s the point?
Oh, don’t suggest that we take our head out of our ass and look at spending, or look at ways we could increase revenue, or do just about anything else so we don’t have to play that game every two years…just don’t even go there.
Because that would take the fun out of arguing back and forth and bagging cups on desks and shouting and yelling and maybe even spilling a drink or uttering a slur of some sort.
That’s theatre, that’s show business, and that’s what the people want to see on TV and read about in the papers…right?
Well then why the hell are we giving it to them every two years? And that’s why I hope the alternative Montana media will put forth their own agenda…and pretty soon.