One needs only to drive from eastern Montana to northeast Wyoming or western North Dakota to see the difference in the health of the local economies. Montana must give more than just lip service to being open for business. Tax structure and overly burdensome regulations shift companies to states where they are made welcome. Capital goes where it is treated well. More business means more jobs, more tax revenue, and better government services provided to our citizens. Extreme environmental groups misinform and scare Montanans into thinking that natural resource development means abusing our environment. Modern technologies in mining, logging and grazing allow profitable harvesting while leaving little, if any, footprint.
The average government employee in this nation makes something in the neighborhood of $30,000 in salary more than the average worker in the private sector. Not to discredit the thousands of dedicated public servants in this state and nation, but the private sector is over-taxed and government is too big and too inefficient. Another myth being sold to Montanans is that tax cuts result dollar for dollar in program cuts to those who need them. Simply holding state agencies accountable for every dollar spent can result in efficiencies that will lower the tax burden to Montana businesses and families.
I’ve been involved in the Beef Cattle industry since I was old enough to walk. I majored in Ag Business with a minor in Animal Science at Montana State University. I have lobbied on behalf of Montana’s Ag producers during my four years as a director for the Montana Stockgrower’s Association, and currently oversee advertising dollars spent on behalf of Montana’s beef checkoff stakeholders as a director of the Montana Beef Council. I am passionate about production agriculture not just because it is my livelihood, but because it is the foundation of our entire standard of living in the United States. Americans spend around 10% of their disposable income on food. This compares to 50% in India and 70% in much of Africa. One reason Americans have so much money to spend on houses, cars, appliances and still have money left over to invest is that they feed themselves so cheaply. A wise man once said that when you have enough to eat, you have many problems; when you are starving, you have only one.
Americans have been so well fed by so few for so long that they take the most abundant, safest, and cheapest food supply ever provided in the history of mankind entirely for granted. Montana agriculture is constantly under attack by out of state funded extremist groups that seek to control our natural resources. I will be a staunch defender of Montana’s biggest, greenest, and most important industry.
Unfortunately, private property rights, like our food supply, are too much taken for granted in our society. Private property is the bedrock of our entire economic system. I’ve had the opportunity to visit nations where private property rights are violated on a whim by government. This virtually eliminates venture capital being invested in an economy, without which there are no jobs. I will be steadfast in my defense of private property rights.
The next revolution (and I do not use that term flippantly) in our state must be in the area of education. Adequate school funding starts with economic development which generates more tax revenue. However, multiple real world examples repeatedly show little or no correlation between level of per student funding and student performance. Incentives, parental choice, and merit based funding must be used to enable our children to be competitive in a global marketplace. The time is right for both sides of the aisle to work together on this issue.
I am a strong second amendment advocate and member of the NRA.