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As a former Montana state budget director myself, (Judge Administration 1974-78), I can’t ignore Big Tobacco funded commercials opposing Initiative I-185. There is no unfunded mandate created by I-185. The Medicaid extension and other low-income programs supported by I-185 all are more than adequately funded within the design of the initiative.

The reader is referred to the analysis produced by the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research (published April 2018), which concludes that the extension of Medicaid under the provisions of I-185 is considered cost effective and significantly beneficial — socially and financially — to the citizens of Montana. According to the report, while the state pays for these benefits, the costs to the state budget are more than offset by the combination of the tobacco tax revenue, savings created by the Medicaid extension, and the revenue associated with increased economic activity.

The math in I-185 works — don’t be fooled by Big Tobacco and its spokesman.

Mike Billings


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