Public lands policy is complicated. There are many groups with diverse and often competing interests vying for their agendas when it comes to establishing public lands policies. Approximately 30% of ... Click to Listen
Have you seen wildlife in Montana that look emaciated – scrawny, scraggy, acting abnormal? Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected along the Hi-line, southeastern Montana, and an outbreak in ... Click to Listen
Have you seen wildlife in Montana that look emaciated – scrawny, scraggy, acting abnormal? Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in Montana – along the Hi-line, and in southeastern ... Click to Listen
Two privately-owned submersibles deployed by a science and education group at Flathead Lake are giving the scientists at the Flathead Lake Biological Station a glimpse of things unseen. Tom Bansak, ... Click to Listen
What is your go-to news source? Do you trust any others? Is local news more reliable than the national media? The Greater Montana Foundation's 2019 News Media Preferences and Issues ... Click to Listen
Former Legislator, Dan Fuchs thinks it could be coming back and he joins us on Voices of Montana!
The Long Range Planning Committee for Metra Park has been asked to delay any plans to replace the horse race track until after the 2019 State Legislative Session, in the hope of passing legislation that could resurrect horse racing in Billings and elsewhere in the state.
And, last week, the Montana Board of Horse Racing unanimously supported proposed legislation brought to them by Dan Fuchs which would give them authority over pari -mutuel wagering of historical horse racing terminals, a relatively new approach to gambling which holds the potential of generating new revenue to support live horse racing in Montana.
Fuchs, a former Montana state legislator with a life-long passion for horse racing, will be monitoring the bill through the state legislature which he says will “level the playing field” for horse racing with video gaming machines. It was the advent of video gaming machines that brought about the decline in live horse racing in Montana.
The legislation which is being sought simply changes the definition of the HBOHR’s oversight authority.
Fuchs said that he has been talking to a wide-variety of business owners in Billings and other communities, gauging their support and it has been very enthusiastic. “People really want to see horse racing come back,” he said.
A new organization hopes to draw upon that enthusiasm to support and help fund promotional efforts. The Montana Racehorse Owners & Breeders Coalition has been formed and is raising money to hire an executive director to help lobby for the legislation.
Kerpen was a policy analyst for the Club for Growth. Until June 23, 2006, he was Policy Director for the Free Enterprise Fund, a United States free market advocacy group. Kerpen was the vice president of Americans for Prosperity for more than five years, ending his tenure there in April 2012. Kerpen is a syndicated columnist and a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues. Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a conservative 501(c)(4) organization which he founded in 2012.
By Phil Kerpen
President Trump recently tweeted that he wanted to end subsidies for General Motors “including for electric cars.” In this case the president’s personal pique aligns with an opportunity to advance good public policy. One of most significant subsidies from which GM benefits – the $7500 tax credit for electric car buyers – is already scheduled to phase out as GM passes the 200,000 vehicle cap on the full credit, entering a one-year phase-out before the subsidy ends completely. It’s a rare circumstance in which a government program could actually end just by Congress doing what it specializes in – doing nothing.
Unfortunately, while the House version of tax extenders leaves the cap in place, the Senate has been discussing lifting the cap and allowing subsidies to keep flowing to GM and Tesla, which has already reached the phase out. The president should make clear he would veto any legislation to lift the cap.
Democrats should support letting the credit phase out because it is a tax break for the rich. The Pacific Research Institute looked at the most recent IRS data and found that more than half of the electric car buyers claiming the credit make more than $200,000 per year and nearly 80 percent make more than $100,000. Just 1 percent make $50,000 or less.
They conclude: “the subsidization of EVs has some reverse Robin Hood impacts where tax dollars are taken from all households (including lower-income households) and given to wealthier households.”
There is also a geographic dimension to the wealth redistribution. The most recent industry data shows that half of all electric vehicles sold in the United States were sold in California, which has its own lavish subsidies at the state level. In August, the most recent month with data available, 53 percent of electric vehicle sales were in California.
A September 2018 NERA Economic Consulting study looked at the economic impact of eliminating the cap, as some in the Senate have proposed and for which Tesla and General Motors have been heavily lobbying.
They found that the costs of lifting the cap outweigh the benefits, because lower gasoline costs are more than offset by the direct and indirect costs of subsidized EV infrastructure. The study finds total household income falling as a consequence of lifting the cap by $7 billion in 2020 and $12 billion in 2035, which is about $50 to $70 per household in lost income every year.
That’s a cost of over $50 every year to middle-income middle-Americans to pay for subsidies for rich people in California.
Orrin Hatch, the original sponsor of the bill, explained the logic behind the cap in 2007:
“I want to emphasize that like the tax credits available under current law for hybrid electric vehicles, the tax incentives in the FREEDOM Act are temporary. They are needed in order to help these products over the initial stage of production, when they are quite a bit more expensive than older technology vehicles, to the mass production stage, where economies of scale will drive costs down and the credits will no longer be necessary.”
At the time, big subsidies for electric vehicles were justified based on the theory that they were needed to lessen American dependence on foreign oil. A decade later, America is the largest oil and gas producer in the world and electric vehicles are a mature enough technology that they should be left to succeed or fail on the preference of consumers, not politicians.
Congress should let the subsidy phase out as scheduled – and President Trump should force their hand by making clear he will not sign any bill that increases or eliminates the cap.
Senater Duane Ankney and Colstrip’s City Council Member, Lori Shaw come in to the studio to talk about the new Lawsuits against Talen about the Clean-Up and the future of Colstrip.
Former Colstrip power plant co-owner and operator PPL is suing Talen Energy over claims that PPL was late in funding environmental cleanup and pension costs at the facility.
In District Court, PPL asserted that any shortage in cash for environmental cleanup or employee benefits was because of the mismanagement by Talen.
Talen, sued its predecessor, claiming PPL took $733 million from its Montana holdings that should have stayed with the Colstrip operation to cover worker benefits and environmental cleanup commitments.
Talen, once again, stated that it would press forward with its lawsuit against PPL.
Derek Skees is the head of the 2019 legislative rules committee for the 2019 legislative sessions, he gives us all an update on the important legislative meeting to be held Tuesday, with both the Democrats and the Republicans legislators.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 4th. We will recap it with Republican Chairman Derek Skees.
Congressman Greg Gianforte will join us later in the show around 9:40 am to pay respects to former President George Bush Senior.
Mr Llew Jones is a highly respected Montana Senator that is now apart of the Montana House.
He recently wrote a Guest Editorial and emailed Voices of Montana a copy, Here it is.
Montanans would benefit from Simple Majority Montana House rules
I never planned on being “Old Man Jones”, but time never stops. I am currently the longest serving Republican in the Montana House, having served 8 years as Senator and 6 years as Representative. I have served under the Senate simple majority rules, and the House super majority rules. I have served in the majority, minority, and leadership. I support changing the Montana House procedural rules (not bonding or veto override, …) to the Senate’s simple majority format.
Changing the House rules to simple majority is good for the legislature:
The House super majority rules allow the Speaker/Leadership to ignore legislative members within their own caucus and across the aisle. Rather than engage in the messy reality of true leadership exemplified by honest negotiation, the Speaker can bury contentious issues in a ‘kill’ committee, or worse, simply never schedule bills for consideration. This has been done by previous Speakers of both parties, including last session. This is the ultimate centralization of power: where a single individual uses “rule processes” to dictate to 99 elected representatives. The expediency of these solutions is ‘fool’s gold’ as failure to honestly negotiate exacerbates the natural schisms within a caucus and across the legislature. The result: sustained unproductive intra-party and legislative feuding. Public trust is completely eroded.
Real leaders do not require rule gimmicks to address legitimate differences of opinion. They work at building consensus within their own caucus and across the aisle. Operating under the 2017 simple majority Senate rules, President Sales earned the respect of the Senate body by being radically transparent and honest, even when members disagreed with him. The committee work was respected, debate was fair, and bills lived or died on their merit.
Changing the House rules to simple majority is good for Montana:
A key premise of our U.S. political system is that centralized power reduces accountability and increases potential corruption. The current super-majority House rules place excessive power in the hands of a few legislators, and, at times, in the hands of a single individual (Speaker). This amplifies lobbyists’ and party bosses’ opportunities to dictate legislative outcomes through opaque rules processes, often avoiding transparent debate entirely. Simple majority rules distribute power to all 100 legislators, ensuring that all ideas can be fairly heard and debated. In the Senate, I had bills both tabled and passed, but I always was confident my bill would be heard. Montana benefits from decentralized political power.
Changing the House rules to simple majority is good for Montana constituents:
There are legitimate differences of opinion across the legislature. Many differences are predicated on geography not party. Urban Districts have vastly different problems than rural Districts. Issues in Eastern Montana are different from Western Montana. Effectively addressing these issues is stymied by super-majority rules. The Leadership/Speaker’s agenda becomes the controlling agenda. The loser is every other legislative district. Simple majority rules ensure legislators can serve the constituents that elected them.
Representative Greg Gianforte took part in a nonprofit roundtable discussion in Helena Monday discussing what he could do to help them from his position in Congress. Gianforte was on Voices of Montana today. “To listen to the full Voices of Montana Podcast Click Here”
Today on Voices of Montana Alan Olson, Executive Director of the Montana Petroleum Association, was asked about the efficacy of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline now that President Donald Trump has issued a new permit to cross the Montana/Canadian Border. Hear Alan Olson’s response Listen to the Entire Show Here
Greg Gianforte called us live from the swamp to update us on the Mueller Report. Colstrip United Representatives discussed the “Save Colstrip Bill” Senator Tom Richmond (SD 28), and Senator Duane Ankney (SD 20) joined us. Click To Listen
Today, we heard Public Service Commissioner Roger Koopmans’ thoughts on Colstrip. The PSC, NorthWestern Energy and the Montana Legislature are working through some issues that revolve around Colstrip Power Plant. Click To Listen
We started with John Doran, VP of External affairs and Chief of Staff with Blue Cross Blue Shield as he gave us his ideas on Medicaid expansion. Also joining us on the show was Tom McGillvrey with the Montana State Senate and Senator Dr. Al Olszewski, who also spoke on …
The Columbia River Treaty between Canada and the United States is an agreement that was reached in 1964 to manage flood risk and hydropower. Canada was compensated in the agreement by receiving half of the value of the electricity generated from the Libby Dam. Eureka Senator Mike Cuffe was on …