Thursday, November 15, 2007

For the Billings Gazette, Roy Brown is just local news; also -- addressing the first (weak) attacks on Brown

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?"

Just curious.

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.


Ed Kemmick said...

Good question on story placement. I sometimes go to our Web site looking for a local story (which I read in the dead-tree edition) so I can link to it ... only to find it sometime later under state news. And vice-versa. Why? Human error, I guess. Sometimes I've even found my Sunday column under state news, and once my name was misspelled on top of the column. Very large organization; limitless opportunities for mistakes...

Montana Headlines said...

I certainly didn't think that it was nefarious, I just wondered if maybe someone was so used to thinking of Roy Brown as a local figure that the mental transition hadn't been made to the fact that this is a big state-wide race.

Probably most of the time, I don't even notice the mis-classification of stories in the on-line edition.

I was originally just curious -- but now that I find they've done it to you, one of their very own, I'm outraged!

Seriously, though, I would imagine that your column could fit under state, local, national, or opinion depending on the topic of your column.

Maybe you could pass on to the webmeister that an interested reader thinks your column should be posted under all three sections, plus the opinion section, every Sunday -- to make sure people don't miss it. You're worth it, and they do need to make up for misspelling your name, don't you think?

Very large organization; limitless opportunities for making amends...

Ed Kemmick said...

I was trying to play the straight man, but you missed your cue. When I said "Very large organization; limitless opportunities for mistakes...," you were supposed to say something about Big Government.
I tried.

Montana Headlines said...

See what all of those years of the new "big-government conservatism" have done to rot the brain?

I blame George Bush for my missing that cue.