MTLeg Viewpoint: Washington, D.C., must get its spending under control
Washington, D.C., could learn a lot about responsible budgeting from Montana.
Last week, all six members of Republican leadership at the state legislature sent an open letter to our federal delegation urging them to oppose President Biden’s $2 trillion tax and spend bill that’s working its way through Congress.
We pointed out that:
Congress has already passed over $5 trillion in COVID-relief spending and recently passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The Federal Reserve has dumped many trillions more into the economy. The federal government is collecting more tax revenue than ever, yet the U.S. national debt is rapidly approaching $30 trillion. We cannot continue down this path. Sending out another $2 trillion in federal spending will supercharge inflation while burdening Montanans with more regulations, mandates and taxes.
Montanans are already suffering from inflation. Generations upon generations of Americans are going to be stuck footing the bill for Washington’s spending addiction. Meanwhile, top executives in industries that Biden’s newest $2 trillion package is supposedly meant to benefit are saying they don’t need or want the spending.
For example, the bill would spend billions on electric vehicle charging stations. But Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Congress shouldn’t pass the bill and should instead “delete” it. He said the electric vehicle industry doesn’t need those subsidies and raised strong concerns about the negative impacts of federal regulations and the national debt.
Washington, D.C., could learn a lot about responsible budgeting from Montana. Here, we don’t hand out taxpayer money to big corporations that don’t need or want it while piling up more and more debt. In fact, our state constitution requires us to pass a balanced budget. At the Legislature, we spend months debating every detail of proposed spending in open meetings with participation from the public.
The budget we passed earlier this year keeps state spending under the rate of population growth and inflation, the baseline to have state spending become more affordable, rather than less affordable, for taxpayers over time. The Frontier Institute celebrated that news, noting “Lawmakers passed a Conservative Montana Budget…this is a substantial reduction compared to average government growth for the last 16 years.” We’re always looking for ways to further reduce spending, but our current budget was a big step in the right direction.
Clearly, responsible budgeting is possible. Congress needs to prioritize fiscal sanity because the current path our country is on is not financially sustainable, and that’s why we sent our letter opposing Biden’s $2 trillion bill last week.
Every member of our federal delegation responded to the letter, which I sincerely appreciate. Here are some highlights:
Sen. Steve Daines: “I appreciate our Montana legislators voicing their opposition to this dangerous proposal, and I will keep fighting every step of the way against it.”
Rep. Matt Rosendale: “Proud to join my friends in [the Montana Legislature] to oppose Joe Biden’s ‘Build Back Bankrupt’ Boondoggle.”
Sen. Jon Tester’s spokesperson: “While some politicians in Helena continue to play politics … Sen. Tester is going to keep fighting to make sure any final bill lowers the cost of prescription drugs, cuts taxes for Montanans and holds big corporations accountable.”
I’ll let you be the judge on which of our congressional members are standing up against reckless spending in Washington, D.C. Here in Montana, we pass conservative, balanced budgets and live within our means. For the sake of our country, Congress needs to learn how to do the same.
Sen. Mark Blasdel, R-Kalispell, is the president of the Montana Senate.
Frontier Institute’s Mtleg Viewpoint series provides an opportunity once per month for Montana legislators to deliver an update about topics that matter to our followers. Offers to publish columns were made and remain open to both the Legislative Majority and Minority. Opinions expressed by guest authors do not necessarily represent the positions of the Frontier Institute