Silver Bow Kiwanis

Silver Bow Kiwanis Kiwanis Club Meeting, Oct 2, '12

12:00-1:00 Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Larger map and driving directions

Butte Perkins
2900 Harrison Ave.
Butte, MT 59701

Child Safety Week was September 16-22. In recognition of that, Tim read us a belated piece of information from the Department of Transportation as our Safety Tip. In particular, it is important to have child safety seats and child booster seats for cars inspected to make sure they are installed correctly. Incorrect installation can lead to the seats not protecting their occupants correctly. Check to find an inspection site near you.

Matt and Michaela from the Circle K joined us again, and Matt let us know that the Circle K would like us to participate in the Kick Start program again this year, where interested members of our club will get paired with a member of the Circle K. The Kiwanian pays part of the Circle K member's annual dues, in exchange for which the Circle K member will attend at least one Kiwanis meeting as the guest of his or her sponsor and will work at least tow hours on a Kiwanis service project with the sponsor during the school year. Kiwanis sponsors are also encouraged to attend one of the Circle K meetings or service events. Matt hopes to have more details for us next week, specifically the price and number of members needing sponsors.

Lee, presiding over her first meeting as President, introduced Jon Sesso. Jon is running for Montana Senate District 37 having been termed out of his seat in the Montana House. jon is currently the city/county planner and has been a long-time champion of libraries and has worked to support the Montana State Library.

Jon is the chair of the legislative finance committee and just returned from two days in Helena at an off-year finance committee meeting. He is proud to report that the Montana budget is in good shape. He attributes this to four consecutive terms of fiscally conservative policy and the state's constitutional requirement for a balanced budget.

In 2007 Montana had a budget surplus, and there was a lot of push to spend that money on programs that were short or had been cut back. The final decision was to spend some of that money on public education, some on infrastructure improvements, and put about a third in savings. The decision to put that money in savings in 2007 allowed the state to continue functioning smoothly in 2009 and 2011 when other states were seeing major shortfalls due to the "great recession." The state went from a $400M surplus to a $400M deficit practically overnight, and in 2011 Montana was one of only two states that were in the black.

The job of the appropriations committee is to estimate the amount of money the state will actually take in over the next two years. This money comes in from a variety of sources, but the five primary sources are individual income tax (about 50%), property tax (about 13%), natural resource tax (about 10%), corporate and business tax (about 7%), and vehicle tax (about 5%). This accounts for roughly 80% of the state's revenues, but many of these can vary considerably depending on how the economy is performing.

Over his four terms in the state house, Jon has seen a shift from bi-partisan cooperation and collaboration to political agendas not necessarily in the best interest of the State or the people. In 2005 the state house was 50/50, in 2007 it was 50/49/1, in 2009 it was 50/50 again. This required that anything that was to get passed required cooperation and buy-in from the other party. However in 2011 the split was 68/32 which meant there was little cooperation. In that session over 70 bills that passed were vetoed by Governor Schweitzer. That represents a lot of wasted time and frustration.

Jon was termed out of the Montana House last session. He believes that the term limits may contribute to some of this shift from cooperation to competition within the state legislature. He is also concerned that term limits may give an advantage to lobbyists and, by proxy, to special interests as experienced and trained lobbyists have an advantage over inexperienced members of the state legislature.

Jon Sesso, Candidate for SD 37
Country Club Melt and Fries
Event Updated
5:45 Tuesday, October 2, 2012