Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Send in the Clowns

Back on April Fool’s Day the MEA-MFT, the union representing Montana’s public employees, organized a Big Circus Event on the Capital steps to protest the GOP lawmakers attempts at curtailing the ever increasing government spending. Of course this cut in spending would affect the very jobs of these public employees who are being asked to “tighten their belts and crackdown on wasteful spending”

The circus attendees watched as our governor pranced around the capitol steps like a trained circus pony brandishing his VETO branding iron he had special made to enhance his showboating. People sitting ringside watched the clowns perform and heard from various public sector speakers that bemoaned the fact that they were being unfairly singled out in these budget cuts and we were lead to believe they were representative of most Montanans that are “barely getting by”

Are they in fact representative of the “average” Montanan that is indeed “just barely getting by”?

The Rotunda Report had an entirely different view of this sideshow and issued a report a week or so after the big tent had been taken down which is reprinted below. Watch the video on the link above -- check these Rotunda facts --- tell us what you see.

After taxpayer resources, corruption, and trickery were used to organize a rally for more government spending on April 1, the Rotunda Report conducted a study of the groups involved in the rally.

The rally called for more money for state employees.

Our study revealed some surprising statistics about who, exactly, was demanding a pay raise.

The state employs more than 14,000 people.

The average Montanan makes $34,000 per year.

More than 70 percent of state employees make more than that.

Of those 14,000 state employees, about 700 are in Flathead County, and about 400 of them make more than the average Montanan.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in the Flathead area is over 14 percent.

The unemployment rate in the rest of Montana is over 7 percent.

And while more than 7 percent of Montanans are out of work, and the average Montanan who does work makes less than $35,000 per year, Brian Schweitzer pays Keith Kelly $96,000 per year… to keep track of how many Montanans are out of work.

Keith Kelly organizes rallies for state employees to demand a raise on time that’s been paid for with that $96,000 of taxpayer money.

Percentage of the state’s annual payroll that goes to Lewis and Clark County: 41 percent.

Percentage of state income taxes that come from Lewis and Clark County: 7 percent

So far in the whole fiscal year, the state general fund has expended $94.7 million more than deposited as revenue. In other words, since last July, we have been spending more than we make.

Since all that spending is paid for by the taxpayers, can we the taxpayers really afford to give a raise to people who by already make more than their employers — that is, the taxpayers?


  1. There's a circus in Helena alright, it's our Republican run legislature. You can't have a big top show without a bunch of dumb elephants running around.

  2. I am glad the republicans are refusing to give these over paid bunglers a raise. Considering the declining econnomy these public employees should be happy they have a good paying job

    Quit crying and do some work

  3. State employees are more than grateful to have their jobs. (At least the ones I know are). I know State workers who work two jobs. Why? To pay bills, make a house and car payment and buy groceries for their kids. My frustration comes for two reasons: 1) The Republicans all voted to give themselves a raise this session and to accept state paid health insurance. If you want to save the state money, start with yourselves.
    2) I watch year after year, time after time local (city) employees negotiate for between 2%-4% raises yearly. They typically get them. So local services are more valuable than your state services? I understand the economy is in trouble and if the raises are not given I understand why but these type of articles infuriate me. I agree with 69, this session has been a circus. They promised JOBS. I doubt very much the people who will be unemployed due to refusing federal funding are qualified to work in a mine.

  4. Mama--cut the bull, to share a phrase with our esteemed Governor!

    The legislature did not vote themselves a pay increase this session that is pure Democrat bulls#&t propaganda.

    What you are referring to, for all those out there joining us late in the program, is the vote on HB 1, more commonly known as the feed bill, which included an increase in the per diem approximately 1.5% due to increased health care expenses. This amount Mama is not set by the Legislature but by the State itself for all State employees, the Legislature merely authorized this increase and that vote was LAST SESSION WHEN THE DEMS CONTROLLED THE HOUSE!!!

    By the way HB 1 includes all appropriations to run the Legislature including printing, wages, etc. not just legislator's pay.

    Also for the record, voting themselves a pay increase for "this session" as you said would be unconstitutional, in direct violation of Article 5, Section 5 of the Montana Constitution prohibiting the Montana Legislature from "fixing" its own compensation.

    As for State health insurance, legislators have been eligible for health insurance for many years because they are state employees. Not all legislators took it, which has recently been disclosed to the public and Democrats too took the pay increase and State sponosred health insurance too so it is not a one-way street.

    As for the City--cannot justify those idiots getting a dime either, but to avoid a union shakedown I guess they caved.

    "I doubt very much the people who will be unemployed due to refusing federal funding are qualified to work in a mine." Is your mind warped? In no way is refusing the federal money, which the fed's can't afford to give out either, is going to cause unemployment. It should have never been used in the first place to backfill appropriations last session and is inappropriate to accept it this session to balance a budget. This is nothing more than using one credit card to pay the other's minimum balance. It is irresponsible and by the way the strings that come with the federal funding you mention would only cause further budget cuts in the future when the money dries up again. Don't throw good money after bad.

    Mama, what cosequences of this session remain to be seen, but rest assured the sky will not fall, we will all wake up again in the morning and perhaps just maybe a little of the burden of government will be lifted off our shoulders provided the Clown in Chief doesn't showboat the progress made right into the red.

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  6. How could we not have a circus in Helena? We have had decades of ill-management to overcome. In order to make a dent in it there would have to be a battle royal, and truthfully I think this session is much tamer than I expected.

  7. fact: if you don't think people are going to lose their jobs due to the refusal of Federal Funding and the State level cuts you are the one with the warped mind.

    Now that it appears we've both lost our minds I guess we're qualified to run for office in 2012.

  8. I am ok wih some family planning jobs and some of the do nothing jobs being lost mama.

    Have you ever been down to the old luthern home and watched all those extremely hard workers doing their jobs?

    employed or unemployed - How can you tell the difference?

  9. A lot of the federal funding we receive comes with so many strings attached that you have to look hard to find a net benefit from it.

  10. Fact... to quote you:
    "the vote on HB 1, more commonly known as the feed bill, which included an increase in the per diem approximately 1.5% due to increased health care expenses".

    Well isn't that special. The 1% wage increase for state employees will not cover their health insurance premium increases.

    The "FACT" of the matter is our legislators said yes to daily rate increases. They said yes to new computers. They said yes to insurance. You set an example by saying NO. It's called leadership.

    I'm fully aware it's not a one way street. Which is why I don't vote a one way party. I voted for Republicans and Democrats in this election. I pick the PERSON not the PARTY.