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It's a wrap

| April 27, 2005 12:00 AM

While state Democrats are pounding their chests and talking about how they took care of business, Montana Republicans are trying to convince anyone who will listen that the opposition simply gave state residents the business.

The GOP is pointing to a $1 billion increase in state spending but the Legislative Fiscal Analyst is calling it $677 million. Democrats are claiming they restored spending the Republicans cut to social programs and education.

The Republicans are claiming that it took the Democrats one legislative session - 80 days to undo what took the GOP 800 days to accomplish.

Frankly, I don't see the restoration of our cheap electrical power statewide. Nor will we - regardless of how many windmills we build unless it's part of an effort to get the average homeowner off the power grid and more self-sufficient.

I suppose the real measure of the session will come down the road. When we see what kind of surplus exists. The Legislature began with an estimated $300 million surplus. The projected surplus after all this spending is just under $79 million.

The worst part is the Legislature heads back to Helena in December to try to come up with a new school funding formula. Don't hold your breath on a property tax cut coming out of that session. But we will hear about it from the respective sides. Ho-ho-ho.

One of the bright spots in the session would have to be the two senate resolutions that passed - SJ 27 and SJ 26.

SJ 27 passed the Senate 48-2 and the House 80-20. It urges our Washington delegation to oppose federal tort reform legislation for asbestos victims.

SJ 26, carried by Sen. Aubyn Curtiss of Fortine, seeks support for creation of a center for study and treatment of asbestos-related disease and for providing relief for the victims of asbestos exposure in Libby. It passed the Senate 49-1 and the House 91-9.

These resolutions are great, you just wonder who is listening. I guess we have to wait and see what happens down that road, too. - Roger Morris