Montana exports had a record year in 2012—led by grain, Montana exported over $2.48 billion in high value grain last year. We're producing products and commodities that the world wants, and all our communities benefit from the resulting jobs, economic growth, and tax revenue.
But to continue to thrive in the highly competitive global marketplace, Montana's agriculture producers need to be able to access the emerging markets where new demand is expanding. We produce some of the most outstanding agricultural products in the world, but if we can't get those products to the markets that want them, someone else will fill that demand.
We're against expanding Medicaid during Montana's 2013 legislative session. You knew that.
In short, it's bad welfare policy, bad economic policy and bad health care policy.
* Medicaid expansion will cost Montana's businesses and taxpayers $50 million after all the 'free' federal money, jobs, tax revenues and all the other so-called economic benefits are accounted for.
The publisher of a national industry magazine, the Oil Patch Hotline, recently called Montana's former Gov. Brian Schweitzer "a loose cannon." He also underscored the negative impact to Montana and other states by the federal government's refusal to forward royalty payments on the sale of oil and gas leases.
The Montana Farm Bureau, along with the American Farm Bureau, has expressed strong dismay that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed special interest groups to gain private information about farmers and ranchers in a release of information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Working with counsel, AFBF has now completed an analysis of EPA's actions and determined that EPA's release of personal information related to these operations (e.g., names, addresses, phone numbers) was in violation of FOIA and the Privacy Act of 1974.
Is stream access doomed? That is the question sportsmen are whispering across Big Sky Country, as a special interest group pushes a bridge access case it lost through the state appellate court.
At stake is the state's claim of legal control over 68,000 miles of privately owned stream bed. That is a fair stretch of real estate by anyone's measure—touching thousands of Montana landowners of every stripe.
Three years ago this month President Barack Obama signed into law a sweeping overhaul of our nation's health care system. More than 1,000 days later, farmers, ranchers and other families and small business owners are still waiting for the "care" and "affordability" that the name of the law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, implies.
Instead, over the weeks and months since ACA became law, we've been watching the costs and complexities pile up on an already expensive and confusing system. The higher taxes and thousands of pages of new regulations that come with ACA are certainly not what the doctor ordered for a recovering Main Street economy.
The Big Sky Business Journal
P.O. Box 3262
Billings, MT 59103