Keeping Our Promises
Developing The Future
Over the past decade the Republican led Legislature has worked to make your life a little better each day.
Montana's economy outpaces the nation: According to the Montana Department of Labor and Industry, Montana had 3,500 more jobs in August than a year ago. A national economic forecasting firm (Economy.com) predicts Montana (1.1% job growth) will finish the year with the countrys second fastest-growing economy behind Nevada (1.8% job growth) while nationally there is an average decline of .8%. The unemployment rate in Montana in August was 3.1%, the lowest in 33 years. New Mexico has replaced Montana with the lowest average wages. Montanas economy has stabilized and is growing.
Revising the Montana Environmental Protection act: During the last session, changes were made to MEPA by Republican sponsored bills that should eliminate the "analysis paralysis" while maintaining responsible harvesting of our natural resources. The high paying natural resources jobs will stimulate our economy and raise our average income.
Logging dead and dying trees: After the Bitterroot burned, logging of dead and dying timber on National Forest Land was delayed in court in Missoula. Meanwhile in the Flathead, after the Moose Fire, local Republican legislators worked with the Department of Natural Resources to harvest the trees burned during the Moose Fire. The timber was harvested in a timely manner last winter with little or no damage to the soil. Restoration procedures were being done as the trees were removed.
Protecting your water rights: The Republican sponsored bill that will develop the Water Management Plan for the Clark Fork Basin is a joint effort by local legislators and the Conservation District to protect the water rights of farmers, ranchers and other water users. The bill specifically removes the moratorium on applications for new water rights and provides a process for involving the general public in the development of a plan for the orderly development and use of water in the Clark Fork Basin, which includes the Flathead basin.
Upgrading Highway 93, your economic corridor: Last session, excellent progress was made on planning, scheduling and funding work to complete the upgrade of highway 93 in the Flathead and on the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Reservation. The uncompleted section between Whitefish and Kalispell should be completed by the summer of 2005. The biggest obstacle, which remains to these projects, is the procurement of the additional right-of-ways for expanded and/or divided highways.
Growing tourism: The bed tax was put in place to provide funds for promoting and developing tourism in the State of Montana. Due to the growth of tourism, the amount of money generated by the tax has increased every year. Many attempts have been made to use these ear-marked funds for other purposes. Republicans have held firm to the intended purposes of these funds because they see them as an investment in the economy. Republicans also realize the value of preserving tourism attractions.
Working to keep your taxes affordable: Republican legislators believe a small efficient government is the best. Minimal taxation and responsible spending are our first responsibilities. As stewards of the taxpayers resources, Republicans have maintained the moratorium on general fund tax increases, lowered your automobile taxes and facilitated the elimination of the Montanas inheritance tax (by putting the initiative on the ballot).