Quote for the Day…
Life itself is a privilege, but to live life to the fullest —well, that is a choice. — Andy Andrews
In today’s column, I look at these people/issues:
- Tax Increases
- Dave’s Commentary
- In Your Letter
- MAGA Madness
The Cascade County (Great Falls) Commissioners unanimously approved their budget which includes tax increases.
The Electric reported that the tax increase equates to a homeowner in the city who pays the countywide mill levy with an assessed taxable value of $212,700 will see a county tax increase of $10.73 this year, or 2.9 percent, according to county budget officer Mary Embleton’s budget summary. A homeowner in the unincorporated areas of the county who pays countywide and rural mills with an assessed taxable value of $161,300 will see an increase of $10.60 annually, or 2.77 percent, according to the country figures.
The Cascade County commissioners are Joe Briggs, James Larson, and Don Ryan. Briggs and Larson are Republicans. Ryan is a Democrat.
In August the Commissioners voted to send a $2.46 million public safety levy to the November ballot. According to The Electric, that equates to about $18.90 for a house with a $100,000 taxable value and $37.80 on a house with a $200,000 taxable value, according to the county.
I remember when Republicans wanted constituents to keep more of their hard-earned money. Now they support tax increases because they cannot keep spending under control.
I think it was one of my favorite Presidents, Ronald Reagan, who said:
“Simple fairness dictates that government must not raise taxes on families struggling to pay their bills.”
Just a reminder that Briggs and Ryan are up for reelection this November.
Read the complete article from The Electric HERE.
I invite my readers to check out the commentary from Dave Lewis that appeared in the Daily Montanan recently. The title of the commentary is, “We have to look ahead, stop looking back at 2020.”
In case you wonder who Dave Lewis is, this is from The Daily Montanan:
Dave Lewis served two Republican and two Democrat Governors plus served 14 years as a Republican state Legislator. He observes Montana Politics from the north Helena Valley.
Click HERE to read Dave’s commentary.
IN YOUR LETTER:
In case you missed it, and most did because it’s not a big issue…
U.S. Senator Steve Daines and U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale have written a letter to President Joe Biden saying “don’t send any illegal immigrants to Montana” from the southern border:
“We write today in opposition to any plans by your administration to transport illegal migrants from the southern border to northern border states, like Montana.”
Yawn. Maybe Daines and Rosendale are confused about who is sending illegal migrants to other states. Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are the ones sending illegal migrants to other states. It’s a publicity stunt by the two governors.
The bottom line is that Biden does not need the approval of a couple of dunces from Montana to move these people.
Since Great Falls has been so accommodating for those less fortunate, like the homeless population, I vote for Great Falls to be the first destination!
You can check out the letter to the President HERE.
Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin opened some eyes with her recent opinion titled, “Trump’s frightening rally in Ohio shows the media still doesn’t get it.”
Rubin says that Donald Trump has gone full QAnon. She then adds this:
As he spoke during a rally for Ohio Republican candidates on Saturday, a soundtrack associated with the conspiracy theory played. That elicited one-armed salutes — another QAnon symbol — from many attendees.
Rubin then writes:
The display bore an uncanny resemblance to the infamous Nazi salute. The delusional incitement and zombie-like response should put to rest the notion that President Biden (or anyone) should be “reaching out” to these people. They are unreachable, and pretending otherwise misleads voters.
Like I have said a few times, many of the MAGA folks are batshit crazy. Rubin says that if this were a foreign country, the media would accurately describe the MAGA movement as a far-right cult. Yet in the United States, too many reporters cannot help themselves in normalizing the movement.
That’s the way it is in Montana. U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Governor Greg Gianforte, U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale, and others have embraced the MAGA way. The media in Montana should ask them tough questions about their beliefs in QAnon, the big lie, and events held by Trump where he tells lie after lie.
Our country is depending on the fourth estate.
The opinion from Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post may be for subscribers only. Click HERE to see if you can access it.
The recent GF City tax increase added $16.72 on the mythical $200k house. This new County increase will add $10.73. The levy if approved would tack on $37.80. Looked at individually they don’t seem much but they start adding up, especially for low-income taxpayers or those on fixed incomes. More so in a period of high inflation.
The Electric story also says this new County budget that required the tax increases adds $461,261 to “public safety”. And the levy we will vote on would add $2.46 million, for a total increase of $2.92 million for public safety. We were assured the levy was necessary to pay our sheriff deputies (and coincidentally the sheriff) more, so the department would be competitive with GFPD and improve deputy retention and then something good happens.
But no sooner had the dust settled on adding the levy to the ballot accompanied by that publicly stated justification, than our sheriff out-of-the-clue announced an apparent unilateral decision to add an expensive new initiative that would consume a large portion of the new taxes – armed guards at every county public school.
There are 34 public schools in Cascade County. Approx 180 school days. Guards would be paid up to $100/day. So this new program could cost $600k+ per year, assuming the daily stipend is all it would cost, which is highly doubtful. That $600k is more than the County just added to public safety with this latest increase and represents almost 20% of the total new public safety taxes the County wants us to pay.
The tax increase issue at the County level seems not to be so much the commissioners as an out-of-control tax-and-spend sheriff adding expensive new programs willy-nilly, without direct fiscal accountability to the taxpayers. Or, it would seem, even accountability to our elected commissioners, who get saddled with the blame for tax increases necessary to fund the ballooning sheriff office budget.
Normally I’m not opposed to modest tax increases for good causes like school teacher pay and so on, but this upcoming levy that would seem to simply further empower an out-of-control tax-and-spend sheriff … probably no. Sorry if that hurts our hard-working deputies.
Terry – great analysis. Thank you, JmB
Also interesting to note that our constitutionalist sheriff has joined another anti-government organization formed to do who knows what. Something about pretending to monitor our local elections to make sure there’s no hanky panky, because we all know that’s the sheriff’s job. In other words, voter intimidation. I’ve seen no mention of this in our local press. I just happened across their site while surfing the net, and thought to myself, I wonder if Jesse is in this goofy outfit? Sure enough I scrolled down and there he was. Check out their site. If you click on home, they give some rational or other. But scroll down through the pics to see Jesse. Folks should know what he’s up to, especially our local election officials before he shows up armed at the polls.
Who are they? Well, here it is.
Armed sheriff deputies already patrol Cascade County’s in-person polling place at the fair grounds, giving people the eye, wandering around, and sometimes snooping over their shoulders as they fill out ballots. At least this past Spring for the primary.
Never saw cops at the polls in my 45 years of working life living and voting in other states, even when the local polling place was in a pretty iffy neighborhood . But I suppose it’s necessary in this day and age of extremist right wing nutjobs disrupting polling places playing self-appointed election monitors and voter registration challengers.
Terry, a careful reading of the Springfield Leader article will show that these sheriffs in this organization are simply MAGAs with badges and guns. That’s not good. Amazing that no newspapers in Montana caught on to this that I’m aware of. Someone really needs to address this with Slaughter before he implements all his unilateral reforms. Just what sort of MAGA nonsense will he be preaching in schools to the kids? Fake news and stolen elections? Constitutionalist sheriffs? And by what authority is he qualified to turn a bunch of armed men loose in schools? Scary stuff. Time to slow down and take a look at this, for in spite of what these sheriffs think, they are NOT above the law.
The following article paraphrases much of what Rubin says in her article. It’s good that writers are now speaking out about the dangers of Trump and his followers. The press has been much too lenient with Trump by allowing incremental fascism to flourish. In their misguided attempts at fairness, they have normalized it instead of being a true fourth estate. They have failed the country.
BTW, great column today.
Larry – Thanks, JmB