In the Missoulian on Saturday: “As Republicans take the reins of the 2011 Legislature next month, high on their agenda is revising Montana’s energy and environmental laws, to boost natural-resource development and jobs.” Incoming House Majority Leader Tom McGillvray, R-Billings thinks that their highest priority should be stripping Montana’s environment of its legal protections and doing all they can to mine more coal, oil and gas. “I think Montanans overwhelmingly put us in office to develop those resources.” McGillvray said.
Today, the Montana Chamber of Commerce released its poll of 600 Montana voters outlining their vision of what should be the job of the next legislature. 74% see employment and jobs, taxes, healthcare or the economy as the “single, major problem facing Montana now”. How many are worried about environmental issues? 1% 42% think the direction of Montana’s economy is on the “Right Track”. 31% think the economy is on the “Wrong Track”.
53% think that “Taxes paid by business and industry” are about right or too low. Only 26% think that business and industry are paying too much tax. 64% think that Montana’s Environment is well protected by existing laws. Only 25% disagree.
On a totally unrelated, but interesting, side note: 35% of survey respondents said they are unemployed in a state where the Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the Montana unemployment rate at just over 7%. Hmmm… Maybe it’s just that the unemployed have more time to answer poll questions?
What is the top financial concern of Montana voters?
- Health Care Costs – 30%
- Taxes – 18%
- Paying off Debt – 12%
- Saving For Retirement – 12%
- Children’s Education – 11%
- Energy and Gas Prices – 8%
Unless you take that last answer at 8% as in favor, I didn’t see where mining more Montana coal and polluting our waters is a top concern for voters. Now keep in mind this poll came from a pro-business group, so unions, environmentalists, trial lawyers and President Obama take some hard hits, but nowhere in the survey did I see a lot of concern for stripping our Montana environment of legal safeguards or stripping her of her dirty energy resources. I’m sorry, but Republicans “revising Montana’s energy and environmental laws” doesn’t jump out at me as a major concern of Montana voters.