EDITORIAL: Legislature’s focus must be budget

Print Article

Tomorrow, the 65th Montana Legislature will convene in Helena. And while legislators have a full collective plate already, balancing the next two-year state budget will be the centerpiece for much of the 90-day session.

The most recent revenue projections from the Legislature and Gov. Steve Bullockís budget office provided a dash of optimism after the sobering drop in tax collections reported earlier in 2016. But lawmakers from both parties agree that the state government is likely headed for some belt-tightening over the next two years.

Local GOP legislators rightly note that Montanaís balance sheet should reflect the lower-than-expected revenue flowing into state coffers this year. But the need for careful budgeting doesnít abdicate the state from its role to help communities in the Treasure State struggling to address a range of issues ó from tackling rising crime and drug addiction to safeguarding our world-renowned waters from the further spread of invasive species.

And after a half-decade of failed efforts to pass a spending package that addresses the crumbling infrastructure of communities across Montana, we hope 2017 will be the year that the two parties finally hammer out a thoughtful, bipartisan compromise.

The Montana Infrastructure Coalition seems to have laid out a promising starting point. The groupís recommendation for a narrower, GOP-favored definition of ďinfrastructureĒ is paired with the assertion that some level of bonding will be necessary to balance a cash-strapped state budget while funding those projects. Other pieces of the coalitionís ambitious proposal similarly pull from both parties.

Those proposals on infrastructure funding and other important issues will inevitably emerge from the sessionís political wrangling and policy debates with substantial alterations.

But like it or not, the stateís voters again chose a divided government on Nov. 8. And they expect both sides to approach the next four months with open minds and a willingness to work together toward solutions that will benefit all Montanans.

Print Article

Read More Editorial

Your vote matters ó make it count

October 18, 2017 at 8:28 am | Daily Inter Lake City government plays a vibrant role in our everyday daily lives. Maybe itís a new roundabout impeding your route to work, a spike in your water bill, or a big subdivision that just popped up acros...

Comments

Read More

Drug court makes sense for Flathead

October 15, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake As Flathead Valley law-enforcement agencies battle an increase in the use of meth, heroin and prescription medicines, itís encouraging to hear judicial officials and law-enforcement leaders talking s...

Comments

Read More

Bump-stock ban isnít gun control

October 13, 2017 at 11:24 am | Daily Inter Lake Most of us, like most of you, had never heard of a bump stock until a few weeks ago when the Las Vegas massacre proved their deadly punch. But once becoming aware of them, it was a quick and easy d...

Comments

Read More

EDITORIAL: Donít make hasty decision on county jail site

October 08, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Itís more or less a foregone conclusion that Flathead County likely will have to find a site to build a new adult detention center thatís big enough to hold the countyís prison population well into t...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 755-7000
727 East Idaho
Kalispell, MT 59901

©2017 Daily Inter Lake Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X