On Jan. 7, a group of small-business owners, ranchers and teachers from across the state started their second job for the next four months. We are Democratic legislators – your neighbors, your coworkers, fellow Montanans – and excited to be working for you at the 2013 legislative session.

Last year, Montana Democratic legislative leaders traveled more than 6,000 miles to meet with small-business owners and Montanans across the state. We listened to what you had to say, and now we have set a legislative agenda that directly matches what we heard.

The priority: Jobs and growing the economy.

To Montanans, that means investments in education and a well-trained work force; improving infrastructure like schools, water systems, roads and bridges that are essential to a healthy economy; providing certainty and predictability in regulations; and keeping the state budget balanced and making fair, targeted tax cuts.

Business owners told us their greatest need is trained workers, and without exception, urged greater state investment in education. By freezing tuition for higher education, increasing access to job training programs, and strengthening ties between public education and employers, we can make sure Montanans fill Montana jobs.

We must also expand employment opportunities for veterans in return for their brave service, and incentivize small businesses to take advantage of their work ethic and expertise.

We must build on the successes of the “Helmets to Hard Hats” initiative and the VOW to Hire Heroes Act to find made-in-Montana solutions to address the disgraceful number of unemployed veterans.

Equally important to businesses and communities is continued investment in public infrastructure.

To us, this means proposing an oil and gas tax impact fund to address the rapid growth in eastern Montana and maximizing grants from the Treasure State Endowment Program and other trust funds to ensure our local communities have the resources they need.

It includes passing a jobs bill that puts Montanans to work constructing 21st century buildings at our two year colleges and universities. Alongside these investments we must work to reduce the cost of health care so businesses can provide affordable coverage to their employees.

We’ve led the effort to balance the state budget for nearly a decade, and just like every Montana family, we will continue to spend less than we take in. Likewise, we will support affordable tax breaks that are fair for working families and middle-class Montanans. Through sound fiscal management, we can help create opportunities for small businesses and working families, and make sure Montana remains a great place to do business and raise a family.

As leaders of the House and Senate Democrats we urge you to work with us by speaking out on the issues you care about at the state Legislature. Share your passion and energy. You deserve a government that is listening to and working for you.

Sen. Jon Sesso is Senate Minority Leader and Rep. Chuck Hunter is House Minority Leader in the 2013 Montana Legislature.

(5) comments

GaryTinkSanders
GaryTinkSanders

Rhetoric, Rhetoric, Rhetoric, We can educate our kids until numbers come bubbling out their ears so how does that produce a job? With Graduation Matters the Idea seems to dumb down the curriculum enough so more kids graduate rather than helping falling students bring their grades up to passing levels. In Montana we need to utilize our own natural resources that will create long term jobs, long term tax revenues not these short sided government funded PROJECTS that are here today and gone tomorrow. So your Idea of creating jobs is taxing the only thriving industry in Montana and putting that money into a trust, How about letting the industry grow a little and putting thousands more people to work, broaden the tax base. It's easier to collect a buck from a hundred people than 20 bucks from 5 people.

reality check 4 you
reality check 4 you

Amen, Double Amen!

reality check 4 you
reality check 4 you

It's always about more money for education. Let's translate, more money for more administrators and more rules from OPI while our children real education isn't the issue. It's getting more money for their greedy little wallets and the unions pockets as well. It has nothing to do with education.

Dub
Dub

If only we could believe you. Raising taxes and generating a grant based economy will not lead to anything but exploding defecates. oops, think I meant deficets

hellgatenights
hellgatenights

The priority: Jobs and growing the economy.

To Montanans, that means investments in education and a well-trained work force; improving infrastructure like schools, water systems, roads and bridges that are essential to a healthy economy; providing certainty and predictability in regulations; and keeping the state budget balanced and making fair, targeted tax cuts.????????????????

No, the doors are not left open at night in Galen, this is typical Demorat rhetoric. WE NEED JOBS MAN!! LET'S SPEND MILLIONS WE DON'T HAVE......THAT IS FIRST CHOICE!!! THEN, WE MUST HAVE MORE AND MORE REGULATIONS, CAUSE THAT ALWAYS STIMULATES GROWTH.

ANYONE UP FOR TUITION BREAKS? YES......THAT IS ON THE TABLE.

LET'S SEE, WHO DID WE LEAVE OUT.......OF YES, HOW ABOUT TAX BREAKS FR YOU LOWER MIDDLE CLASS TYPES? WHAT? YOU DON'T PAY TAXES ANYWAY? SETTLES, A TAX BREAK FOR YOU GUYS!!

OH.......THANK-YOU THANK-YOU CHUCK HUNTER, OUR "GUEST COLUMNEST"!!! tHIS IS SUCH A REASONABLE AND BALANCED ARTICLE........IT IS SO FINE!

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