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Good Riddance

And don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out! At about 9pm last night the 2011 Montana Legislature adjourned and the Republican majority skulked home under cover of darkness. They managed to reduce funding for education, reduce income for middle class Montanans, reduce your access to health care, reduce human services and  increase your tax liability, all in less than 90 days.

Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essman declared; “I think we’ve done a job that we can be proud of, preserve this state as a place … with a lot of opportunity.”

Opportunity for who?

An estimated $2.8 million annual tax break for a Roundup-area coal mine, stuffed into a coal-tax bill by Gov. Brian Schweitzer a week ago, won final approval by lawmakers on the last day of the Legislature — but not before some last-minute lobbying turned around a vote to kill it.

The Bull Mountain mine is owned by two Ohio companies producing coal for Ohio power plants and who want to ship up to 40% of the coal to China. In 2010, the Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the mine for 59 safety violations that showed “a potential pattern of violations of mandatory health or safety standards.” This tax break benefits Montana how?

Coal prices soar as warmest sea surface temperatures on record fuel ‘biblical’ Australian floods  

The GOP majority also managed to reduce the equipment tax on businesses by a third, costing Montana taxpayers more than $53 million dollars over the next four years. Who do you reckon is going to pick up the tab for giving tax breaks to polluters and to corporations? Do we really need to stop educating our children and get our health care from the hospital Emergency Room so we can give tax breaks to large out-of-state corporations? Jeff Essman is proud to think we do.


One Response

  1. […] Editor of the Button Valley Bugle says their good-bye to the 62nd Legislature with a piece titled “Good […]

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