Archive for October 24th, 2010

by jhywgirl

I’m voting no on CI-105, the constitutional initiative to amend the state’s guiding document to prohibit a real estate transfer tax.

Montana is one of 13 states that don’t tax the sale of property. Get that? We DON’T tax the sale of property. I don’t think that we need to amend our constitution to prohibit something that doesn’t exist.

All that aside – Why is the National Association of Realtors, out of Chicago, spending nearly $2 million to PASS CI-105?

problembear has weighed in, as has Moorecat and Jay at Left in the West

When I first heard of Constitutional Initiative 105, I immediately thought of it as some California-type proposition that has ham-stringed that state government into paralysis and perpetual session.

Now to find out that out of state money is funding this behemoth? Pushes me even further away from the thing.

The ever-analytical James Conner, of Flathead Memo, sums it up with a fabulous economy of words in a comment at Left in the West:

This absolutely unnecessary and dangerous constitutional amendment is an excellent example of how a society begins to deprive itself of tools that might someday be necessary for governing effectively. For that reason alone, voters should reject it.

It’s also bad policy. A transfer tax can be limited to large transactions. That would raise a lot of money, yet protect small land owners.

As is usual in this kind of situation, the proponents are reactionaries and libertarians, many wealthy, who never met a tax they liked or thought was necessary…unless, of course, that tax was paid by someone else.

If this measure wins, and it probably will, others will be emboldened to add more anti-tax amendments in the coming years. We could well end up as hard to govern as California.

You can damned well bet that I’ll be checking the “Against” box on CI-105 on election day.

Conner is right, and he speaks to the hamstringing of government that I speak of above. 2nd home ownership in this state by out-of-state owners has placed tremendous pressures on property values in this state. A tax – if ever instituted – could be limited to any number of categories merely by specified criteria.

Besides that, there’d have to be one big mighty shift in this state politically to ever institute something like that.

NO THANKS Missoulian

by lizard

When I read the comment suggesting “parasites” (homeless transients) should be “put into a mass grave” on a comment thread about the Poverello Center, I wondered what kind of comment would NOT be allowed. It appears tonight I have my answer.

In today’s edition of the Missoulian, there is an article about a huge VA grant the Poverello was recently awarded. The grant would provide over half a MILLION dollars toward the construction of a new facility, and 350,000 dollars EVERY subsequent year for operation costs.

Instead of just reporting this news, the article swerves toward rehashing downtown businesses alleged problem with transients, interviewing Worden’s Tim France (I wonder if Wordens selects who it sells its selection of cheap malt liquor beverages to, so as to not be contributing to the negative drunken behavior of Missoula’s street drunk population).

Once again the Missoulian’s coverage of the Poverello Center conflates the transients who aggravate downtown with the rest of the people the Poverello Center serves. Thanks Gwen!

Then, in the ensuing comment thread, a funny thing happened. An editorial note by Sherry Devlin appeared in response to a commenter by the moniker “what would jesus do.” The problem is the original comment didn’t appear, just the name, then Sherry’s response. Apparently, based on Sherry’s response, the comment called into question the way the story was reported, speculating that there was an attempt to foment controversy. Then, about ten minutes later, Sherry’s editorial note disappeared (I unfortunately didn’t copy the comment before it was taken out of the thread).

So it would appear that comments calling for murdering homeless transients and putting them in a mass grave is just fine for the Missoulian, but if you start questioning how the story is being reported, well, that’s just not acceptable to the editorial staff.

Ms. Devlin: if you have any scrap of integrity you will restore the original comment and your response to the comment thread, accompanied by an apology for your cowardly censorship.

And if you don’t it will appear you would rather stoke controversy to sell papers and drive traffic to the Missoulian’s website instead of acting responsibly as is the expectation of your profession.

Don’t worry, I’m not holding my breath.

by problembear

thanks to the missoulian editorial board for recognizing the importance of capping the interest rate on payday lenders and for supporting citizen’s ballot  initiative 164 in the upcoming Nov 2 election.

it is so well written that i want to provide some excerpts….

“While Montana law does prohibit borrowers from taking out more than one loan at a time, borrowers often “flip” or “churn” their loans by taking one out right after another to keep caught up with their repayments. In fact, according to Montana Women Vote, the average borrower in the U.S. will “flip” their loans eight times in a year and pay a total of $800 for a $300 loan. These borrowers essentially remain perpetually in debt to payday lenders. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, a full 76 percent of the total annual volume of payday loans in this country is comprised of churned loans.”

and this….

” The Montana Division of Banking and Financial Institutions reports that last year, payday lenders issued nearly 150,000 loans and raked in $7.5 million in interest and fees from fewer than 35,000 borrowers. That’s an average of four loans per borrower.”

payday lenders prey on the most vulnerable of our working poor by keeping them in debt with onerous interest rates that should shame anyone with a conscience. thanks missoulian, for recognizing this and urging our support of CI -164.


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