From MEA-MFT President Eric Feaver
Not too long ago today, the House passed the state employee pay plan, SB 294:
SB 294 (Fitzpatrick) – Revises laws governing state employee pay. State employees receive 1% base pay increases February 15 each year of the coming biennium. Montana University System (MUS) receives increased state funding of the state’s share (approximately $2.6m) of faculty and staff pay going forward. And MUS receives $2m more to incentivize employee retirements.
Unfortunately after several failed attempts to pass the bonding bill, the legislature adjourned sine die. In so doing not only did the bonding bill once again fail at the end of a legislative session but so did funding of the Montana Heritage Center.
HB 660 (Eck) – Passed House. Increases bed tax .5% from 3% to 3.5% to fund construction of Montana Heritage Center. Failed Senate.
SB 367 (Moore) – Passed Senate. Bonds to build infrastructure including $16m for quality school grants across the state. Failed House.
Sad. It should now be clear to one and all that Democratic Party legislators want to put people to work building important infrastructure in the most fiscally responsible way possible. Whereas a hard core group of Republican Party legislators – enough to prevent a two-thirds House vote to bond – don’t care about the huge positive impacts job and infrastructure creation would have in their communities.
Hard to understand why voters elect and reelect legislators who do not vote in the best interests of our state and local communities.
More to follow.
My thanks to all who followed the legislative process and contacted legislators urging them to do right by our state, university employees, public programs and services, and local public schools.
20 months from now the next legislature will convene in Helena.