Make the comitment, Sign the Pledge

There is both good news and bad news.  The good news is that Montana’s General Fund is expected to have an ending balance of $426 million by the end of 2013 biennium budget.  During the last legislative session, workman’s comp rates were lowered to bring Montana from the highest rate in the nation to a more competitive level.

The bad news is that spending has increased over 57% in real, after inflation terms from 2000-2010, according to the Montana Policy Institute.  The state is too dependent on federal funds.   Legislative Fiscal Division reports that for every dollar spent by our Montana government, 41 cents comes from Washington, DC.  We have an estimated $3 billion in unfunded liabilities (state employees’ pensions) that we are obligated to honor and over half cannot be amortized over a 30-year period.  And our state government has grown three times the rate as the economy that supports it.  In short, we are inviting trouble.

The question is, what happens if the federal government, already $15 trillion in debt and climbing (and more than a $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities), decides to cut back on support to the states because it can no longer afford it?  What happens if the national economy continues to falter? What will our new legislature and governor do?   

We would urge our legislators to not raise taxes.  You simply can’t pay for government services by over-taxing Montanans.  We would suggest that current legislators and candidates sign the Taxpayer Protection Pledge and formally commit to hold the line on no new taxes.

Our tax pledge calls on legislators to "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." It would require that legislators oppose any and all net increases in tax rates, introduction of new tax category, or decreases in deductions, exemptions, or credits unless offset at least dollar for dollar by decreases in other tax rates or by increases in other deductions, exemptions, or credits. It does, however, allow genuine tax reform that is revenue neutral.

Our great nation is facing tremendous challenges due to poor leadership spanning decades. This will directly impact Montana’s economy and will also result in reduced federal support for state programs.  While our revenue projections are better than expected our rate of government growth has far exceeded that of the private sector economy.  Our financial obligations in the form of unfunded state pension are a looming challenge we must address.

Our message is clear.  Don’t punish Montanans with higher taxes due to the budgeting and spending mistakes of previous Administrations and legislatures.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is not intended to support any candidate for office. Montanans for Tax Reform is not urging people to vote for or against candidates based on whether they have signed the pledge.

Montanans for Tax Reform
P.O. Box 787
Bozeman, MT 59771