“Interest rates are so low it is cheaper for the state to go into debt than let construction costs increase while waiting for cash to accrue,” we’re told he argued. “I don’t know what we can do to make that more clear, but we’ll keep trying.”
It’s an article called “Falling short: Montana leaders predict debates over bonding, new revenue.”
So every Democrat in the state has to be shackled to another terrible infrastructure bill, one that gives bankers huge handouts in long-term interest payments.
My God, the bankers are hungry for it too. No new state debt has been authorized since 2005, the article tells us.
For 10 years they’ve waited, licking their lips.
It’s currently 13 months before the 2017 legislative session yet “both sides are analyzing the key debates they expect to resurface,” we’re told in the article.
Montana needs a total of $13 billion in infrastructure spending to meet all the crumbling that’s going on around the state.
We know that our current surplus is about $450 million but Montana firefighting costs for 2015 were $45 million.
We can expect the same next year and also for both those numbers to go up. I haven’t been impressed with revenue or cost estimates from the state lately, myself.
Despite this now $405 million budget surplus, “state programs will provide only $90 to $130 million” for infrastructure projects “over the next two years.”
To add insult to injury, this funding is “mostly loans” that “require many communities to increase local rates to qualify.”
Something else I’m concerned with are the suppliers who are gouging the government.
For some reason cement and asphalt have gone up in price. Don’t ask me why they have, or why other suppliers cannot be contacted. I’d guess it’s because the government is too busy…doing something.
This is a huge pain in the ass for people like me that want to run for the 2017 legislature and want to see infrastructure funded.
Mainly, we’re going to go back to this same tired argument that borrowing is cheaper than paying cash…in the long run, of course.
This is foggy thinking that a grade school kid can see through.
Everyone knows that paying cash is cheaper than borrowing!
Alas, it looks like the Montana Democrats are going to be trying to do more bonding for infrastructure.
The main argument this time is that the costs have increased from just eight months ago.
I know there are many Democrats that oppose bonding. The problem is that they have more loyalty than leverage.
Let’s look at these two concepts.
- Loyalty: Democrats want to be loyal to the governor’s plan or way of thinking. The idea of breaking ranks with the party is so unnerving to many legislators that they’ll remain lock-step in line, lemming-like, as Montana’s long-term finances go over the cliff.
- Leverage: Democrats need leverage in the legislature so they can act as an independent branch of government, pulling the governor where they want him to go. This is why it’s so critical to have the infrastructure projects broken into pieces, so we can have an effective give-and-take between the various areas of the state and their representatives.
Despite this need for a ‘pulling of the governor,’ the final vote on Infrastructure was 47-3 in the Senate. It was the House that killed it. “We were one vote shy in the House,” Sesso said.
I don’t feel that will be the case when you have the Romney Hall bill riding on the success of the UM Clapp Building bill. Bozeman and Missoula will come together to get them both passed.
In turn, perhaps Helena could join forces with some legislators from Billings, ensuring we get a new Historical Society building and adequate funding for…whatever the hell it is they need.
What do we need, anyways?
That’s the list I put together a month ago and while I’ll include on my campaign literature.
Until something better comes along, it’s an accurate telling of what the state wanted last time and what will be up for discussion this time.
It’s something to talk about, and that’s what people want when it comes to infrastructure.
More, they want some work to get done.
To get that work done it’ll probably take most of the money we have.
I say to hell with Moody’s and their damn credit rating – we won’t be borrowing again until 2019 so what do we need a good credit rating for?
Yeah, that’s right, it sounds like we need to do some bonding. Even some Republicans are saying that now.
Fine, but let’s make it as low as possible, with the majority coming from cash.
I feel most Montanans can agree on those points – more cash over bonding and small infrastructure bills.
Will legislators and perhaps the governor have the sense to propose that?
If they want to get elected I think they will.