Montana’s top legislators in Ravalli County, Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas, House Majority Leader Ron Ehli and House Appropriations Chair Nancy Balance all called the recent special session a success, saying the Republican-led Legislature proved to be both efficient and effective. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t what the electorate wanted.
In attempting to address the State’s $227 million budget shortfall, which was calling for our state government to make drastic cuts to services, some of which targeted the most needy and most vulnerable in our state, our local Republicans acted like recalcitrant children and refused to consider the other side of any balanced conversation about budgeting - that is, generating revenue. As Nancy Balance stated, “Raising taxes was a non-starter, even though we got thousands of letters from people saying ‘Please raise taxes. We need these services.’”
So, the Republican cohort decided that they know what is best for Montanans, even though those Montanans directly told their legislatures exactly what they wanted. We live in a representative democracy. We elect our legislature specifically to represent the will of the people. If they are not willing to do so, they should be voted out.
– Tom Kresan, Hamilton