A Little Good News In The Omnibus Spending Bill?
The 2018 omnibus appropriations spending bill is 2,300 pages long and includes $1.3 trillion dollars in spending. This add to the United States deficit angers many Montanans, not only for the huge amount of spending, but because it does not address important issues to the state like, sanctuary cities, planned parenthood or Obamacare.
However, there is a bit of good news in the bill for Montana. According to the Southwest Montana’s regional representative with the Montana Logging Association, Bryan Lorengo, “The omnibus spending bill includes a new fire suppression funding mechanism, which will adjust funding caps to accommodate firefighting needs that will end the need for regular fire borrowing from non-fire accounts”.
Depending on the implementation, that should straighten out the “borrow from Peter to pay Paul” dilemma that the state always find itself in. That’s good news with the 2018 fire season right around the corner and Montana still smarting from last year’s devastating fire season that drained money from the coffers and required many cuts from the states spending budget not to mention the hit to the Montana Tourism Market.
According to Lorengo, more positive items coming out of the omnibus spending bill include amendments made to the “Healthy Forest Restoration Act”. The amendments will allow creation of fuel breaks and fire breaks, plus it reforms vegetation management around power lines. Seems like simple amendments, but due to federal red tape, this is something that forest managers were unable to do in the past., It’s a positive outlook for the forest products industry and the state with strong prices for wood products and the demand for wood high due to building across America as a whole.
Join me as I talk with Bryan Lorengo about these subjects and many more on our Voices of Montana podcast, right here.