As you know, Montana will have the worst budget cuts that were possible under the revenue projections.
OPI will lose $19 million, DPHHS will lose $26 million, and another $30 million will be cut from here-and-there (the reserve fund) to pay forest fire costs.
As I mentioned 10 days ago, none of this will have an impact on you or your family.
- You’re probably not a teacher, and even if you do have kids in the public school system, I doubt their teacher will purposefully lower the quality of their teaching because of these cuts.
- You’re probably not living in poverty and dependent upon state help for food or medical or nursing home assistance, and I doubt the cuts those poverty-ridden folks experience will even register on your radar.
- You’re probably not fighting fires, nor do you have a house in the middle of the forest, so I doubt the money we’re spending now to fight fires is affecting you at all.
Hey, today is the smokiest day I’ve seen in Missoula so far this summer. How much have we spent fighting forest fires?
Guess all that money goes up in smoke, eh?
Really, unless you’re a rich or well-off person with a home in the forest, you don’t care about forest fires and the money it takes to fight them.
You live in town, and you know that no matter what – or how much is spent – we’ll have smoke each summer and likely well into fall.
It’s one of the symptoms of global warming, which itself is just a symptom of the rich man’s greed.
The 1% of the 1% and the 10% that want to be just like ‘em.
Most of the world’s problems have come from these small, tiny, miniscule-in-number groups…and it’s been that way for thousands of years.
My God, why do we put up with it?
Look, these budget cuts didn’t have to happen.
But the GOP controls the Montana Legislature.
If Democrats didn't want this, perhaps they should have developed a winning message in Montana...not just its islands of blue in the cities. But they didn't, and once again they lost the legislature.
They haven't had both chambers since 1991. Yet the 'leaders' of the Party continue to make big bucks. Nancy Keenan, for instance, is making nearly $6,000 a month as executive director. She'll be chosen for that job again on August 12.
Yes, the losing will continue. If you're a GOPer, this is great!
Here in Missoula the GOP controls nothing. Dems have been in control for decades.
For the past 12 years we’ve had the same Democrat as mayor. During that time, homeowners have seen their property taxes go up by 95%.
About 15 of those folks came down to the City Council on Monday to express their frustrations.
Many were living on fixed incomes, Social Security, or what savings they had. Their income isn’t going up, so it’s hard for them to pay more in taxes each year.
Being taxed out of your home isn’t a problem our mayor has to worry about however, as he’s raised his own pay several times, all the way from the $65,000 range to the $100,000 range.
And the people of Missoula love this.
I don’t expect them to vote out Engen in the fall, nor do I expect them to get rid of his rubber stamps on the City Council.
Most of the council probably thinks this too, and that’s why they gave themselves such big pats on the back on Monday, decrying how hard their job is, how hard it is to dig into the budget and understand it.
Jesse Ramos and I had a good laugh over this yesterday.
He’s one of my 3 opponents in Ward 4 for the City Council races.
He’d gone down to the meeting, spoke up, and was summarily chastised for it.
The mayor and his rubber stamps simply don’t want to hear that things are bad. After all, for them things are extremely good!
Current Ward 4 councilor Jon Wilkins even had the humorous observation that he lives on Social Security, and he gets by.
Well, Jon, you also make $1,500 a month to meet for an hour or so on Monday nights, and the free health insurance that comes with such responsibility.
Those old folks that had the courage to speak about their problems on Monday night do not, however.
It’s why they were there.
And my how the mayor and the council ignored them. ‘The budget’s already been decided,’ the mayor effectively said, ‘we’re not going to discuss it more or make anymore changes.’
So Missoulians will see their taxes go up by 3.8%...and I have no idea what that increase is needed for.
I dug into it before and found that just 0.5% of the increase was ever actually explained.
Anyways, Ramos and I discussed that and he’s come to the conclusion that the best thing for Missoula is for me to drop out of this City Council race.
That would of course benefit him immensely, perhaps clearing a major hurdle and earning him a win.
And maybe he’s right. Maybe my dropping out will get him more votes, deny the Dem-picked Badgley, and perhaps even get rid of rubber stamp Wilkins.
Ramos and I have many of the same ideas, after all, and maybe he’s more electable than I.
Stuff to ponder as we breath in what just a few hours ago were trees.
Summer in Montana.