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 Bullock’s 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 Montana’s balance sheet should reflect the lower-than-expected revenue flowing into state coffers this year. But the need for careful budgeting doesn’t abdicate the state from its role to help communities in the Treasure State struggling to address a range of issues — 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 group’s recommendation for a narrower, GOP-favored definition of “infrastructure” 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 coalition’s ambitious proposal similarly pull from both parties.

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

But like it or not, the state’s 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

This week, we’ll see you at the fair

August 13, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake Our favorite time of the year has arrived — which means the Northwest Montana Fair is back! You can read all about it in today’s 16-page special section, as the Inter Lake begins a weeklong celebra...

Comments

Read More

Commissioner’s misstep concerning

August 11, 2017 at 10:53 am | Daily Inter Lake Flathead County finds itself in an awkward position with one of its own commissioners charged with felony criminal mischief for killing a half-dozen cottonwood trees in a county park on Whitefish Lak...

Comments

Read More

A Cleveland comeback for Brock?

August 09, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake No matter how much abuse is heaped on Brock Osweiler by NFL pundits, he will always have friends and fans in the Flathead. His run as Flathead High School quarterback, ending with his 2009 graduatio...

Comments

Read More

‘Night of the grizzlies’: Then and now

August 06, 2017 at 5:00 am | Daily Inter Lake We’ve come a long way since the tragic events of the so-called “night of the grizzlies” shook our community 50 years ago. Feeding wildlife — even bears — was commonplace at Glacier National Park in ...

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