By HDN Staff
Gov. Marc Racicot ended weeks of speculation when he called for a special legislative session. He asked that the special session focus solely on replacing funding for economic development that was passed last legislature.
Neither political party argued at the time the need for legislation to promote economic development. The problem at last year's legislature was that they couldn't agree how to fund the economic development plan. The GOP attempted to tap in to the Coal Tax Trust Fund. The Democrats cried foul. So when the Montana Supreme Court ruled the GOP plan unconstitutional, Democrats smugly responded with an I-told-you-so. All of this is political water under the bridge.
There are new dangers to the special session called by the Racicot. In addition to the adherent problems of agreeing on how to replace the funding, special interests are adding items to the agenda. Included is a GOP plan to tie funding for economic development to an income tax cut of $100 million.
The governor was right to call for the special session. We also applaud his promise to veto any legislation that does not specifically address economic development. Jump-starting Montana's economy is too critical to get bogged down by party politics. The leadership of both political parties should take their cue from the governor. Go to Helena, and work together to find a lawful way to fund economic development.