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The state is denying claims made by a government accounting watchdog that it has nearly $1 billion in “off-sheet” liability while the group making the accusations is standing by its research.
In a response to a Nov. 11 Montana Watchdog story “Montana does not have funds to pay commitments, report says,” Paul A. Christofferson, an administrator in the state accounting division of the Department of Administration, says the accusations by the Institute for Truth in Accounting are wrong.
“I do not agree with the findings in the report and we do not have a $1 billion off-sheet liability,” Christofferson stated in an e-mail to Montana Watchdog. “The state of Montana is not in financial jeopardy and does have money to pay its bills.”
Gambling revenues for Montana government declined dramatically over fiscal year 2010 according to a preliminary report.
The state collected 16 percent less in taxes from video gambling machines in fiscal year 2010 than in 2009, exacerbating the reversal of an upward trend that began the previous fiscal year, when gambling revenues declined two percent. The report attributed the decline to the economy and to some degree the implementation of the smoking ban in casinos.
Respondents Give Answers on
Economic, Political and Business Issues
A new poll shows some important voter trends as the Montana Legislature gets ready for its legislative session and Congress debates important federal issues. The Power Base (P-base) is an annual scientific poll of 600 Montana voters on a variety of business and political issues with a margin of error of 4.1%. The poll is commissioned by the Montana Chamber of Commerce and other business groups in mid-November to determine what regular Montanans think about important economic issues facing our state. Here are some of the results:
For people who’d like to watch government in action from the comfort of their home, the Montana Legislative Services Division is offering the public two opportunities to learn how to use a free online service to monitor the activities of the 2011 Legislature.
“I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful career,” enthuses Michelle Johnston, who is finishing out the final days of her position as Montana’s District Director of the US Small Business Administration (SBA) in Helena. The end of this month marks the end of her 24 years with the SBA and her eleventh as Director.
As a native Montanan, part of a family-owned business, and someone who truly loves the community of small business, Michelle Johnston has been ideally suited to serve Montana businesses, in what she says is the best government agency in existence. “I found my niche when I came here,” she said.
House District 58 Rep. Krayton Kerns (Laurel-R) says most of his fellow Republican legislators “just don’t get it.” He said Monday afternoon that they misunderstand the depth of the problem facing government.
They also missed the message of the “Red Tsunami” that swept across Montana and the rest of the country earlier this month, he said. “Voters sent a pretty clear message to us, but for the most part, the voters’ message has been missed.” He was referring to the number of Blue (Democratic) seats that are now Red (Republican) seats after the elections.
The Big Sky Business Journal
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Billings, MT 59103