Where the Money Goes

Claiming that info is readily available, Gov. Schweitzer vetoed HB 444.

This bill enjoyed broad support, across the partisan divide. Democratic lawmakers often like transparency as much as Republicans.

At times, the info vault is like a steel trap.
A discontinuity exists between the desires of Montana citizens and the incentives of elected officials.

3 Responses

  1. Governor Schweitzer explains very clearly the reason for his veto:
    “As part of our overall budget settlement, my office reached an agreement with the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate that this bill would not receive funding. This means that the nearly $400,000 cost of implementing HB 444 is not addressed in House Bill 2 and would represent an unfunded mandate imposed upon the Department of Administration. The Department cannot absorb the costs necessary to implement HB 444 from within its existing budget.”

    • Dear Greg: Transparency is demanded by Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. Here’s what one very liberal constituent wrote in an email:
      Read the article in the Chronicle about HB 444. Sounds like a good idea that would be good for the people of Montana. Thanks for putting it forward.
      Here’s from a letter from another, a professor of physical sciences, and a certified Democrat. He began with comments about guns, abortion, MEPA, cannabis, federalism, budget frugality, and education. We agreed on a couple of points, especially about budget frugality, but mostly his points of view were not mine. He did all this with the utmost cordiality, for which I was grateful. Here’s his quote:
      To the extent that I understand it from the Bozeman Chronicle I very much approve of your legislation to make valid and understandable information on government finances and spending available on the internet.

  2. Tom: I am not saying 444 was bad legislation. I am sure it appeals to both sides of the isle. But your side of the isle was trying to cut the budget (HB 2) and that was one of the ways that they did it. In negotiations with the governor, the president of the senate and the speaker of the house (both republicans) agreed that 444 would not be funded. The governor’s veto was at that point written into the script. Everyone at the negotiating table knew that if the funding for 444 was removed from HB 2, then 444 had to be vetoed. If you don’t pay for a service, you don’t get the service.

    I was just making the point that it seems unfair to blame Governor Schweitzer for a budget cut that your side negotiated.

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