The Future of Mining and Medicaid in Montana: A Factual Perspective

Eric Moore
Tuesday, July 24, 2018

As usual, the Billings Gazette editorial board demonstrated its left wing bias and reluctance to ascertain the facts in its opinion piece opposing the opportunity for Montana voters to have a say in the fiscal future of their state.

Montana legislators are considering calling a very brief special session to put 2 referenda before the voters dealing with a pair of ballot initiatives that will greatly effect Montana’s budget for the foreseeable future. Yes, it will cost some money. While $90,000 is a lot of money to you and me, it is a minuscule percentage of a 10 billion dollar biannual state budget. It pales before the future monetary impact of the issues at hand.

Ballot initiatives in today’s political climate are passed or defeated based more on money than merit. Like it or not, it is the world we live in. The radical environmentalists have a seemingly limitless funding stream from their wealthy out of state contributors, and they will spend what is necessary to end hard rock mining in this state, regardless of the revenue and good paying jobs it provides. The fact that Montana has already implemented some of the most stringent mining regulations in the nation doesn’t seem to matter either.

Likewise the big hospitals take in around 400 billion a year from medicaid expansion. What will they spend to preserve this gravy train? The answer is, again, whatever it takes.

Certain Montana legislators wish to place some additional choices before the voters this fall or winter. We believe we can have responsible natural resource extraction while preserving habitat. The either/or choice being offered by the radical environmentalists is a false one.

If Montana taxpayers are to continue providing health insurance to the able bodied, is it reasonable to expect that these individuals get out of bed in the morning and pursue something productive like work, education, or community service? What about an asset test? Should we continue to provide free health care to individuals with substantial wealth who hide or defer their income?

These are the choices we propose to put before the voters of Montana. One or two days’ work in Helena this summer seems a small price to pay with the financial future of our state at risk with I-185 and I-186.

A final thought for your consideration: If we continue on the path of eliminating good jobs while expanding the welfare state, the cuts to state services made in 2017 will pale in comparison to what will come.

( Eric Moore is the republican senator from District 19.)

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