Dear friends and volunteers who came forward to make the Great American Cleanup 2015 something we can all be proud of:
What a Great Cleanup! We had some rain, yes, but it didn’t stop those groups that were determined or those that postponed a day or so. The following Saturday, May 2, had a little more sunshine. All in all, what actually began before April 25 was a very rewarding experience. Seems as though many more of our citizens are taking notice of the litter and want to do something about it, and actually are doing it. And a big thank you goes to our national sponsors that continue to answer our call for supplies.
It is all behind us for now but we all know that a little clean up during the summer and come fall before the snow flies we need to take notice again of how and where we can get Yellowstone County ready for the Holidays. Thank you seems so little to say to everyone. But please know that Bright n’ Beautiful says it from the heart. Bless you all.
Bright n’ Beautiful
Last Updated on Thursday, 14 May 2015 15:03
The following Republicans voted with Democrats consistently this legislative session: Reps. Rob Cook of Conrad, Christy Clark of Choteau, Roy Hollandsworth of Brady, Frank Garner of Kalispell, Geraldine Custer of Forsyth, Tom Berry of Roundup, Tom Richmond of Billings, Steve Fitzpatrick of Great Falls, Ray Shaw of Sheridan, Jeff Welborn of Dillon and Dan Salomon of Ronan.
Montana Citizens voted for a Republican Majority in both the State House and State Senate.
The Montana Republican Party has a platform that was drafted and voted on by all 56 Republican County Central Committees.
These 11 Ir-Responsible Republicans ran as Republicans, lied to voters that they will vote for what is best but have continually voted with the Democrats.
These 11 Ir-Responsible Republicans have blown up our State House Chamber, turning their backs on their voters and the Republican Party plus have suspended all the RULES by voting with the Democrats – now Montana will get Obamacare, the tribes will control Montana water, and now Gov. Bullock will get everything he wanted – It is a sad day in the history of Montana – these 11 should be ashamed of themselves.
When our taxes rise once again to support their ridiculous votes, don’t say you weren’t warned.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 11:07
Eagle Mount Billings would like to thank the community for stepping up and supporting us through a difficult time. Billings should be proud as the sense of community was demonstrated by numerous businesses, individual Facebook posts and phone calls from community members asking what they could do to help.
Our largest fundraising event was only two days away when we discovered that someone had stolen almost $3,000 worth of items donated for our live and silent auction. We were able to thank many individuals and businesses already but wanted to recognize the last-minute calls to help, offers to donate and positive thoughts and prayers.
The Eagle Mount Billings family consists of people who participate in our programs as well as those who contribute to our organization. In the past couple of weeks we have reflected upon our growing family and all those who reached out to support us.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 11:06
The oil and gas industry is a boom and bust venture. Companies get in as quickly as possible, extract as much of the resource as possible, make millions of dollars, and then get out just as quickly, leaving behind a mess of abandoned wells, frack water storage areas, torn up farmland, depleted and unusable water, crumpled roads, and a local economy in tatters.
Unlike neighboring North Dakota, Montana gives oil and gas companies a holiday on paying taxes on the first 12 to 18 months of production from a new well, regardless of how high oil prices are and how profitable production is. Contrast this with North Dakota, where only when the price of oil falls below $52 a barrel, does it lower the production tax rate.
In North Dakota, oil companies pay their fair share, especially when wells are most profitable, and the state has ensured a revenue stream to deal with the ongoing infrastructure needs of impacted communities.
Montana has lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars since 2008, according to the nonprofit Montana Budget and Policy Center. Montana must take advantage of this boom and bust cycle instead of waiting until the initial production of a well is used up scot-free.
Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2015 11:06
Coal country politics made a dramatic showing in the Montana State Legislature last week with a bill that would heavily penalize an out-of-state owner of two Colstrip power generation units if the owner were to suddenly shut down the plants in the next decade.
The poison pill legislation, Senate Bill 402, would create an impact fee for Puget Sound Energy in the staggering amount of nearly $100 million from the date of plant shutdown. Bill authors Sen. Duane Ankeny, R-Colstrip, and Sen. Jim Keane, D-Butte, claim the multi-million price tag – unprecedented in Montana legislative history, if enacted – would help communities in Eastern Montana cope with the economic fallout of a plant retirement.
But a November 2025 sunset clause in SB402 makes it highly unlikely that Puget Sound will ever pay a dime to Montana communities. Instead, the bill seems solely purposed to send a harsh message to legislators in Washington state, who recently introduced bills to shut down the Colstrip units due to the high price of Colstrip’s power compared to cleaner energy sources, and an apparent growing dislike of coal-generated power among Puget Sound utility customers.
SB402 is in fact a paper tiger, part of a ginned-up interstate spat on the future of coal energy production.While perhaps temporarily satisfying legislative vanities, the bill’s real impact is to send a chilling message to the business community that Montana lawmakers are willing to reach deep into the marketplace to bias and interfere with business decision-making – in this case, the difficult decision of when to retire aging power plants.
If one thing is certain, it is that our Colstrip plants will one day be decommissioned – as is now under way at the Corette plant in Billings. If we as a state want to protect jobs and community economics, the proper response is to begin now with a real plan to replace the Colstrip plants with new, clean power technology.
We need more leadership than SB402 provides when it comes to future energy policy for the Treasure State. If we play our cards right, Montana can lead the country as a net power producer by creating a business-friendly environment for new energy technology development.
Rep. Chris Pope
Last Updated on Thursday, 23 April 2015 15:21
Other states have found their initiatives to expand Medicaid similar to Montana’s SB 405, the Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act, have produced significant budget savings. Providing health insurance for low-income, working Montanans will result in state budget savings and economic growth.
Kentucky estimates their expanded Medicaid program will result in net state budget savings of $820 million from state fiscal year 2014 to state fiscal year 2021. And Arkansas estimates savings of $370 million during that time.
The savings Kentucky and Arkansas realized are available to all states. Providing health insurance coverage in SB 405 through private premiums and federal contributions will result in less need for state-funded mental and behavioral health programs. Other current specialized Medicaid programs would be to initiatives where the federal government is providing a greater contribution. Montana’s corrections program would achieve savings from released inmates receiving needed mental health and substance abuse treatment resulting in fewer re-offenders.
Research found that Connecticut, New Mexico and Washington also realized budget savings in the first year of expanded Medicaid programs. SB 405 is not a budget buster, and will result in economic growth to Montana.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 April 2015 10:19