Monday, July 24, 2006

Some Facts on Montana CI 97

What is Montana Constitutional Initiative 97? It comes with the fairly innocuous name "Stop Over Spending", invoking images of something that might even be a good idea. Is it a good idea? Let's see a few facts.

From their website we get the following:

1. It would put voters in charge of their own tax dollars.
2. No more footing the bill for irresponsible spending.
3. It puts politicians on a sensible, stabilized budget.
4. State government can no longer go on spending sprees when times are good-but they also won't have to slash funding when times are bad.
5. It would stop government waste. If politicians want to spend more than the SOS limit, they simply have to go to the voters first.

Well, these seem like good things right? Maybe not as good as they seem.

1. This is a representative democracy. We vote for leaders who make good choices.
2. What about increased needs for schools, hospitals etc? Yep, those fall under it too.
3. See 1 and 2.
4. We have a surplus in Montana this year, it is being returned to those who paid it. Isn't that responsible?
5. What happens in emergencies? Will we have to go to the polls just to keep the government running?

So, maybe these aren't all great things. It would be nice if we had an example of how this might work in real life to see if that's where we want to go. Oh Wait! There is one! Colorado passed a similar measure some years ago called TABOR. How did that work out? From this article:

-Colorado went from 35th in the nation for school funding to 49th;
-Colorado went from 23rd in prenatal care to 48th;
-Colorado went from 24th in child vaccinations to 50th;
-Roads and streets deteriorated
-Senior citizens lost important services
-Colorado was the only mountain state to lose jobs between March 2001 and November 2005 according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Is that the record you want to see in Montana? But surely, since this initiative was conceived and funded by Montanan's, it is worth looking into?

Whoa! Not so fast partner! It seems this was not conceived and funded by Montanan's at all! In fact, it has been funded by rich out of state Libertarians. Just for the record, Libertarians generally believe that government should not pay for anything. That means schools, hospitals, sewer, roads etc. Not only were these financed by out of state interests, the signature gathers were paid and from out of state.

'Montanans In Action' is the name of the out of state funded group that is sponsoring this initiative. There are two other measures being pushed by the same out of state dollars:

CI 98 "Protect Our Homes"
I 154 "Citizen's Right to Recall"

Again, the names make them sound like good things, but there are snakes hidden in the woodpile of each. I will cover the other two in upcoming posts.

Please see the following links for more information on who is really funding CI 97 and two related initiatives and more information on why this is a very bad idea for Montana. You need to be informed on this issue before you vote, it is very important to the future of this state.

Unlimited Terms of Endearment: Part V, The Locusts
A Montanans reAction to “Montanans” in Action
Montanans in Action: Misleading Voters Big Time
High Country News on CI 154: Trojan Horse for right-wing extremists


granny said...

Those funny libertarians at the Heartland institute can't wait to get their hands on the federal education dollars, and they want to rachet up the welfare reform again also.

I was very surprised that they would be agitating to stick people into low paying jobs with the excuse that people can still get food stamps to bring them closer to being out of poverty.

I recommend reading this whole series of PDF files where they spell out their agenda, it is some mighty fine reading if you ask me:

Shane C. Mason said...


It's all very scary. It seems to me that these people, knowing they could never gain full public support, have found back doors. Care is required here.

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