Posted: Jun 11, 2012 5:18 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Republican leaders in the Montana Legislature say their priorities for the 2012 campaign will be jobs and the economy.
Senate President Jim Peterson (R-Buffalo) and Speaker of the House Mike Milburn (R-Cascade) say they have a strong slate of Republican candidates running for the Legislature this year and they expect to maintain control of both Houses.
They say they want to look at several bills next session relating to the business equipment tax, MEPA reform, further workers compensation reform and tort reform.
They say the key to job creation is Montana's natural resource industry.
"We think that is what is going to keep our young people here. That is what is going to help drive the economy," Peterson says.
Peterson says Republicans will look at legislation which prevents environmental groups from litigating and standing in the way of developing Montana's natural resources.
Speaker Milburn says one of the critical components to their legislative success is electing a Republican Governor.
"We need somebody that is policy oriented in the executive branch, not politically oriented. We need somebody that has the site on the future, long term goals and long term gains," Milburn says.
Democrat lawmakers have a plan of their own. Many of them have been touring the state as a part of an organized "Jobs Tour."
State Representative Chuck Hunter (D-Helena) has been hearing from Montanans about what they need to create jobs. He says Democrats are looking at legislation which fixes local infrastructure, connects college graduates with Montana businesses, and develops natural resources responsibly.
They are expected to release a comprehensive jobs plan in the upcoming weeks.