Thursday Thoughts

Here are some of the issues that recently caught my attention:

  • Great Falls Public Safety Levy
  • Elections for City Government
  • Debt Limit Extension
  • George Santos

GREAT FALLS PUBLIC SAFETY LEVY:

Leading off today’s commentary – raising taxes. By the way, The Electric does a great job of keeping us informed about local happenings.

The Electric has published an update to the Great Falls Public Safety Levy, and it looks like the citizens of Great Falls are going to be paying out the nose.

One chart in The Electric shows the total cost (operational and capital requests) of the safety levy for a $100,000 home being an added $159.25 per year in taxes. A $300,000 home would have an additional $477.75 per year in new taxes.

I vote “No” on all the proposals. I will vote against any commissioner or mayor who supports these plans. I hope you will join me.

It’s time for someone on the commission to stand up and stop the madness. Most citizens in Great Falls don’t have an extra $159 to $477 per year to give the city for their fantasies.

By the way, if the Great Falls city commission goes ahead with this fantasy and the citizens pass it, this will be on top of the Cascade County public safety levy that was recently passed. That’s a double curse for many people in Great Falls.

Check out The Electric article HERE.

ELECTIONS FOR CITY GOVERNMENT:

One of my faithful readers alerted me that current Great Falls City Commissioner Rick Tryon announced that he was running for reelection.

As I have said before, he won’t be getting my vote.

He has voted to raise my taxes. As you probably know, I think we pay too many taxes. I don’t want my taxes raised because the Great Falls city commission and manager can’t control spending.

I hope we have several “actual” fiscal conservative candidates running for the city commission in Great Falls.

If you are interested in running for city commission in Great Falls, click HERE to start. You get $312 per month to read a lot and go to a few meetings…

DEBT LIMIT EXTENSION:

Every few years we go the route of having to fight over whether to extend the debt limit. Both parties do it, depending on who is in control. It’s ridiculous. This is not where the fight should start.

The Department of the Treasury reports:

“The debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments.”

By the way, that statement on the Treasury website has been there since the Trump presidency.

Also, Under Trump, the US debt increased by a total of $7 trillion and during his presidency Congress voted to increase the debt ceiling three times. (Source) (Source)

If there’s a default, the political party that gets the blame will suffer greatly because if we can’t pay Social Security and Medicare benefits, and military salaries, you will piss off a lot of people.

The Treasury also reports:

“Congress has always acted when called upon to raise the debt limit. Since 1960, Congress has acted 78 separate times to permanently raise, temporarily extend, or revise the definition of the debt limit – 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.”

I am all for controlling spending. Let’s cut spending across the board by at least 10% in the next fiscal year. Don’t default on the obligations we have already made.

GEORGE SANTOS:

The story about U.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) is interesting and fun to follow.

I have done and continue to do opposition research for people, I find it asinine that most of these lies were not caught during his campaign – either by his own political party (Republican) or by the Democrats.

It’s like every politician’s lies over the years are being exhibited in one person. As effed up as our politics are in this country, we kind of deserve George Santos.

There are lists of his lies on the internet, but probably what pissed people off the most was how he stiffed a disabled veteran out of $3,000 that was supposed to go to help his dog with surgery. The veteran was homeless.

Then there’s the lie about his mother being in the World Trade Center during 9/11. (Source)

It was reported that Donald Trump told around 30,500 lies in four years. (Source). George Santos may be saying, “Hold my beer.”

What is it with these Republican men that makes them feel so inadequate that they lie…

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8 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts

  1. Public Safety Levy:

    I suspect the total bite the City will want to take out of our pockets (and what we have available to support local businesses) will end up being considerably in excess of the approx $12.2 million/yr that is detailed in the chart in The Electric story.

    All the tables and calculations that have been presented so far seem to be based on the current total of assessed property values in the city, numbers that were reportedly fixed for the 2021-2022 tax biennium based on the State’s property value numbers of January, 2020. State bean counters are busy right now coming up with new numbers for the 2023-2024 tax biennium. If the formula follows those will be based on values as of January, 2022. We all know what happened with property values here between 2020 and 2022.

    So if you have a property with a current assessed value of $200k, it isn’t likely to still be $200k when you get your new taxable value notice this June. If the City has already picked out a certain number of mills they want to put on the ballot in November, based on the old numbers, the dollars for you are going to be more at the new 2023-2024 numbers. And more than the $12.2 million/yr in total for the City.

    I also suspect they already know this, and are counting on it to pad out their revenue and expand public payroll headcount even more.

    And bye the bye, The Electric story also mentions an additional taxpayer expense of $50,000 to $150,000 for a “public education campaign” RFP, whereby the City government intends to spend our own money on an outside PR firm to gin up some supporting facts, numbers and arguments to try and sell us on imposing this big tax increase on ourselves.

    This is in part necessary because Tryon’s crime task force utterly failed to produce any sort of supporting evidence/findings for the recommendations it delivered, even though Tryon himself said up front they had to do that. So now we’re informed it’s necessary to spend $50,000 to $150,000 of our tax money to backfill the evidence/findings the task force failed to deliver.

    That’s the same task force, by the way, that Rick assured us beforehand “was not necessarily about a public safety levy” but has produced no other evident results to date, nearly two years since it was created. (Other than serving as a talisman to reference when constructing various and assorted “whereas” clauses prefacing some proposals/motions). One would almost be tempted to conclude the task force was nothing more than a predetermined-outcome dog-and-pony show all along, with laser focus on a levy like this one, and that we were lied to about its purpose.

  2. could you review the outright non policy lies of our state’s elected officials? Your info packs more weight.

  3. A bigger plus of being City Commissioner is you get a Cadillac health care policy including dental & vision.

      • Well sure. Rick Tryon himself told us so. He railed about it in an old ECB opinion back in 2018. The good old days, before he was Commissioner Tryon and was just another angry blogger without any real responsibility – like he once accused you of being. Been real quiet about those Cadillac bennies since he was elected though. Assuming they really do get City bennies like he claimed, you would think a guy with such high principles would have publicly renounced them when it was his turn at the trough.

        From that 2028 piece:

        “Mr. Bronson, Mr. Kelly, Ms. Sexe and all the others up there are servants not lords. Their Cadillac city health insurance, salaries, and even the big table and fancy black chairs they’re perched on are paid for by citizens like Mr. Haffner. Like you and me.”

        As if that wasn’t enough, that’s not the only thing of note in that same rant. He was also going on about citizens not being able to ask questions:

        “So a city commissioner can direct a city employee in a public meeting to inform the public how justified that commissioner is in allocating our money to an organization his son works for but a citizen can’t ask that same city employee a question?

        Have these people forgotten who works for who? Maybe it’s because of some kind of silly protocol but it sure comes across as arrogant and unfair.”

        Oddly enough, this exact same situation persists during Tryon’s own commission, without complaint from him. The commissioners and top city managers insulate themselves behind the very formal public meetings format. People can make limited “comments” at certain points but there is no real back and forth. The comments are usually simply ignored, even the ones that contain questions. It’s little more than the appearance of taking public input to comply with the law.

        Wouldn’t it be great if they got out from behind their “big table and fancy black chairs” once in awhile and held an open Q&A session like our SOPI recently did, where people could ask any old question and then pursue follow ups as well? I bet there’s a lot of people in Great Falls who would like to ask questions about this proposed tax levy.

        https://ecitybeat.com/an-arrogant-and-out-of-touch-city-commission/

  4. Problem with Tryon is that as near as I can tell from his bio, he’s never had a real job! Maybe someone can correct me on that. But now that he finally got elected to something after running for everything but dog catcher, he ain’t about to let it go simply because he’s screwing over his fellow citizens. He spends a great deal of time trying to sound important and sucking up to Jesse Slaughter while trying to curry favor with Doney and the rah rah development boys! He’s their biggest cheerleader. He’s in way over his head and he knows it. So he just plows ahead and does what he’s told by his bosses, except when it comes to crazy MAGA stuff. Then he’s a tiger of resistance to things like mask mandates, with absolutely zero education to back it up.

    So I’m like you, he’ll never get my vote. This election will be a good test to see how stupid the local MAGAs really are. Will they gladly pay an horrific tax increase just to keep one of their own on the commission, or will they finally figure out that MAGA means come screw me again? I hope to God they’re not that stupid, because I don’t know how much more “safety” I can stand! Me personally, I like Jesus well enough, but I prefer competence on the city commission!

    Between my power bills and my last year’s tax increase of three hundred bucks on my land, I’m tapped out.

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