Yes, Roy Brown is from Billings, but why did Charles Johnson's piece on the progress of Sen. Roy Brown's gubernatorial bid get put in the "local" section of the Gazette on-line? Especially when it was datelined "Helena?"
Sen. Brown is staying on theme, as he should: our state government has spent too much money and hasn't cut taxes when it could have.
The business equipment tax needs to be eliminated entirely. It is a relic -- one that the vast majority of states that used to have one have since gotten rid of.
As to the executive branch's defensive statements in response -- well, they are pretty weak.
There is of course the usual bragging about the $400 election-year "check in every pot" property tax rebate that the governor preferred to a real across-the-board property tax cut. It made work for all of those new Department of Revenue employees that we apparently so desperately needed (isn't it logical to respond to a $1 billion dollar surplus by hiring more tax collectors?) And it helps with the re-election campaign of the governor and the Democratic legislators the executive branch orders around.
And then there is the red herring of Sen. Brown and others voting to over-ride vetoes on certain spending bills. Well, perhaps true -- heaven forbid that the legislature actually determine how money is spent.
The whole reason that those vetoes happened was that the governor was unwilling to compromise with the legislature in general and the Republican-controlled House in particular. The governor's original spending demands were rammed through, pretty much unchanged, even though Democrats in the Senate were prepared to do some compromising with Republicans.
Which left a number of bills out there that had been passed by both houses of the legislature that didn't fit into the executive branch's master plan.
What was amazing was not that Sen. Brown voted again for the same bills that he had voted for the first time they came around -- what was amazing was that Democratic legislators allowed themselves to be strong-armed into voting against bills they had originally voted for.
In some cases, as we recall, there were even cases where Democratic legislators had co-sponsored bills -- and when the governor vetoed them, they were cowed into voting against their own bills when it came to over-riding the governor's veto.
So, the truth will out in the end -- but it is going to be a long, hard campaign, refuting these kinds of tedious charges against Sen. Brown, one at a time.