Archive for October 4th, 2010

by jhwygirl

Relatively speaking and not so relatively speaking.

Renewable Energy World released its state rankings of grades given by the solar energy. Where does Montana fall? 39th (or 40th if you count D.C.).

That’s a 2010 ranking by the industry. In calculating that ranking, 50% of Montana’s score (our score being a pithy 17 out of 100) depends upon “incentives”. Our grade in “incentives”? F.

Before ya’all go saying that solar doesn’t work here in Montana, check the maps out here, provided by National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Compare that to the states that top us in rank? Factor in size, too? So Illinois, ranking 8, blows us away. Pennsylvania, ranking 5th? Again – blowing us away.

Here is a burgeoning industry and we’re in a state with enormous solar potential and we have zilcho, comparatively speaking, to virtually all the other states in the union.

Stimson mill sits empty with railroad tracks running through it..they’re recycling silicon in Butte (a major component of photovoltaic cells), and Montana isn’t doing diddly squat to bring those kind of elements together to produce jobs.

But how about those flag-waving jobs to move Korean-built tar sands equipment? Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Moving on to wind…..

Here’s a 2009 ranking for wind energy production, state by state. Montana’s ranking? We do a bit better here (and should) – 18th.

But should we do better? Check the maps. Washington, California, Oregon? Top us on the list, yet our potential outshines them – by far. Colorado, New York, New Mexico….Indiana? Same there.

The Montana legislature squabble over the minutia of this stuff, often blaming it on MEPA and over-regulation. Anyone want to believe that looking at how places like California and New York out-rank us? Because, you know, California and New York are so regulation-free. Others put out there that the lack of powerlines to transmit the stuff doesn’t exist, which really isn’t true. It’s the lack of incentives to bring solar and wind energy here – and remember, that’s the industry talking.

Blaming MEPA is a bunch of crap. Any major transmission line has to go through NEPA, mainly because anything moving across Montana is going to be hitting federal lands…and NEPA is far more onerous.

~~~~~
This is where tax incentives should come in. I’m tired of hearing the GOP leaders talk about and advocate for blanket cuts in business taxes. We have business here. They pay taxes. They employ people. Do you honestly think the mere act of cutting their taxes is going to create jobs? The reality is that we’ve cut all sorts of business taxes and we’ve not seen any appreciable growth in the number of people employed by these businesses. We’ve seen new businesses..but not growth in existing business (which is the state purpose of the tax cuts, right?) If you are going to propose blanket business tax breaks, provide Montanans with some data showing how many jobs will be created by these existing businesses for whom you are cutting taxes.

That way we can confirm that you are wrong. Or correct.

Do you dare?

Every blanket break in taxes for existing businesses falls to someone else to pay – meaning….private property owners.

I’m not alone in thinking that…we just need good people to speak up. Everyone knows – thoughtful conservatives and liberals alike – that blanket tax breaks for existing businesses aren’t going to create enough new jobs (if any) to make up for the loss in tax revenue. Calling for tax cuts might get you elected..but if you defunct the government in doing so, you aren’t doing your job.

Montana needs targeted tax breaks for high paying industries that guarantee jobs and investment here in Montana. Guarantee jobs? Guaranteed tax incentives. Invest in Montana – help them with some incentives to get here. Tier these incentives based on the number of jobs and the taxable payroll. This isn’t rocket science – an increase in taxable payroll means more people paying taxes and supporting more businesses here in Montana.

We’re hounding down 2010..and the 2011 legislative season looms. There’s 28 days until election. Let’s hear some real tax policy talk from candidates on both sides of the aisle. Let’s talk substance, not talking points.

Specifics.

I don’t want to hear “cut taxes” and “cut business taxes” from GOP talking heads like Mat Stevenson and Champ Edmunds like I did the other night at the Target Range Homeowners Association meeting. Frankly, I ended up feeling kind of sorry for the poor fellas, and there’s really no other way to say it. While I sat and listened to the candidates from several legislative seats speak, both of these guys had it pretty tough from the crowd of mostly seniors in the audience when they started with their GOP talking points call to “cut taxes” and railing against “big government.”

So much so that when asked to be specific about what they would cut..they couldn’t answer. When begged to suggest anything that they would cut…they said they couldn’t answer until they “looked at what was proposed.”

When even that tactic of avoidance didn’t work as it was pointed out to them that they seemed ill-informed to be running for an office when they hadn’t even looked at the current year’s budget, Stevenson insisted that we (as in Republicans) would “find stuff to cut.” This angered an older fellow in the crowd who quickly took to giving him the hook (yep – it was as painful as it sounds), saying “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Here’s an idea: Targeted tax cuts tied to job creation. Tax cuts that don’t shoulder more upon property owners. Tax cuts that create new high paying jobs that increase tax overall tax revenue.

As Martha would say: That’s a good thing.

by lizard

I’ve been trying to figure out who to highlight next, but the decision can be difficult, mainly because I have so many poets I would eventually like to cover. What precipitated my selection of m.l. smoker (that is how her name appears on her first collection of poetry) was actually a bigoted comment from j-girl’s tar sands post. The comment is in response to information provided by one of the post’s links, discussing the potential adverse medical impact of polluted water on the community at Fort Chipewyan. The newbie commenter, who is proving to be a real peach, had this to say:

I’m no scientist but rather than blaming the water maybe someone should study the effects of alcohol combined household cleaning products.

Obviously, what this statement callously refers to is the well known ravages of alcoholism in First Nation communities. I would like the bigot who made this statement to understand alcohol was used as a weapon to destroy indigenous communities, and its effects are still with us today. When it comes to the humans who were here before Europeans “discovered” the new world, Canada is not much different from America; our great shame is the genocidal expansion of western colonialism.

So I would like the words of m.l. smoker to stand in contrast to bigotry. Here is the brief bio from her first collection of poetry, entitled Another Attempt At Rescue:

m.l. smoker is a teacher and administrator on the Fort Peck Indian Reservation in Montana, home of the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes. She is an enrolled member of both tribes. She holds a BA from Pepperdine University and an MFA from the University of Montana and also attended the University of Colorado and UCLA. Among her honors were the Richard Hugo Scholarship at Montana and the Arianna and Hannah Yellow Thunder Scholarship at UCLA.

And here is the title poem from her first book:

ANOTHER ATTEMPT AT RESCUE

March 20, 2003

The time is important here–not because this
has been a long winter or because it is my first
at home since childhood–but because there is so much
else to be unsure of. We are on the brink of an invasion.
At a time like this how is it that when I left only a week ago
there was three feet of snow on the ground,
and now there is none, not even a single patch
holding on in the shadow of the fence-line.
And to think I paid a cousin twenty dollars
to shovel the walk. He and two of his buddies,
still smelling of an all-nighter, arrived at 7 am
to begin their work. When I left them a while later
and noticed their ungloved hands, winter made me feel
selfish and unsure. This ground seems unsure
of itself for its own reasons

and we do not gauge enough of our lives
by changes in temperature.
When I first began to write poems
I was laying claim to battle.
It started with a death that I tried to say
was unjust, not because of the actual
dying, but because of what was left.
What time of year was that?
I have still not yet learned to write of war.
I have firends who speak out–as is necessary–
with subtle and unsubtle force.
But I am from this place and a great deal
has been going wrong for some time now.
The two young Indian boys who almost drowned
last night in the fast-rising creek near school
are casualties in any case.
there have been too many just like them
and I have no way to fix these things.

A friend from Boston wrote something to me last week
about not having the intelligence
to take as subject for his poems
anything other than his own life.
For a while now I have sensed this in my own mood:
This poem was never supposed to mention
itself, other writers, or me.
But I will not regret that those boys made it home,
or that the cousins used the money at the bar.
Still, there are no lights on this street.
Still, there is so much mud outside
that we carry it indoors with us.




  • Pages

  • Recent Comments

    Miles on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    success rate for In… on Thirty years ago ARCO killed A…
    Warrior for the Lord on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Linda Kelley-Miller on The Dark Side of Colorado
    Dan on A New Shelter for Vets or an E…
    Former Prosecutor Se… on Former Chief Deputy County Att…
    JediPeaceFrog on Montana AG Tim Fox and US Rep.…
  • Recent Posts

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,673,230 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 2,736 other followers

  • October 2010
    S M T W T F S
    « Sep   Nov »
     12
    3456789
    10111213141516
    17181920212223
    24252627282930
    31  
  • Categories