As for the Democrats’ plan for the state surplus, “Put Montana’s money to work,” I’m all for using the surplus to stem the housing crisis. . As a permanent resident of Montana, I’ve watched the dream of home ownership become out of reach for the average working-class family. The Democrats’ plan puts the surplus back into the pockets of the Montanans who created it by making a serious and bold investment in increasing the amount of affordable housing available. The Democratic solution is a stark contrast to the governor sitting on piles of our tax dollars and doing nothing.
A poll conducted earlier this year found that more than three-quarters of Montana residents rate the lack of affordable housing as a very serious or extremely serious problem.
The Democrats’ plan is a huge step in the right direction to solving the housing crisis. Projections show that by the time lawmakers meet again in January, we will have $1.7 billion in the bank. In addition to using much of that surplus to reduce the cost of child care and deal with rising property taxes, the Democrats’ plan would spend $500 million on workforce housing. With this investment, we could energize an existing and proven model that builds affordable guaranteed rental apartments.
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Gianforte’s way of doing things will only serve to take away the power of the middle class family and continue to push our workforce out of the state. Its focus on so-called “deregulation” at the expense of everything else – without actually investing in expanding the supply of affordable housing – will once again favor millionaires and the well-connected.
The budget surplus is already there, these are not new taxes. We have to convince the Republicans to give it back to us.