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We vote soon! For 26 years the Republicans have held majorities in Helena. What have they actually accomplished? First, pushed a Business Equipment Tax giveaway to large corporations which cut millions in state revenue. Then, passed an Oil Tax Holiday in 1999 to stimulate oil production because it was only 20 bucks. Oil went to $150 but that holiday stayed in effect and has cost us billions. In 2005, they cut income taxes over $100 million a year. Look at a state tax bracket. The 1,580 richest Montanan’s making over $500,000 a year get $48.8 million (almost half) and another $37 million goes to those making between $100,000 and $500,000. The person making $50,000 gets 14 bucks. Something had to give!

In the past 20 years, they cut higher-education funding in half, forcing a 300-percent increase in tuition and program cuts. They’ve slashed health and human services $50 million a year. K-12 school boards have had to sue the legislature three times since 2000 to get barely adequate funding.

Your local property taxes have increased dramatically to make up a portion of these shortfalls. Here are a just a few of the crazy bills they’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to pass: “Declare that global warming is good,” “withdraw America from the U.N.,” “eliminate incentives for developing wind power,” “create a panel to nullify federal laws,” “right to carry guns everywhere,” etc. Frankly folks, if you make less than $100,000 a year and vote Republican, you’re being foolish!

Leo Barsanti

Billings

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