By Steve Daines--U.S. Representative
Political Opinion 

Montana Needs More High-Paying Jobs


At RightNow Technologies, I helped grow a small software startup into Bozeman’s largest commercial employer, creating hundreds of high-paying Montana jobs along the way.

 And after spending 28 years in business, I’ve come to know that there are a few principles that are essential for any small Montana business. Hard work and accountability are critical to success. To make a profit and balance a budget, you can’t spend more than you take in. And if you don’t do your job, you don’t get paid.

 These common sense principles are sorely missing in Washington. The first bill I introduced – the Balanced Budget Accountability Act – presented a straightforward way of addressing this problem: if Congress failed to pass a budget that balanced, members of Congress shouldn’t get paid.

As I travel throughout our state, Montanans have told me how much sense my bill makes. But needless to say, this kind of commonsense solution didn’t go over well with the career Washington politicians.

It’s no wonder that in a place where inaction is rewarded and fiscal responsibility is frowned upon, Washington has failed to find solutions to the economic challenges facing our nation.

The American dream – where moms and dads work hard, pay off the mortgage and are able to give the kids the family farm – is vanishing. Today’s reality is that Washington politicians have mortgaged our children’s futures and are saddling our kids with a massive and crippling debt.

 The most recent U.S unemployment report shows that our labor participation rate is the lowest since 1977. And Montana wages are ranked in the bottom five of all fifty states. All too often, young Montanans need to leave our state to get a job – or struggle to find work altogether.

Montana is a great place to grow up, raise a family, and pursue the American dream. Our quality of life, our access to the outdoors is unmatched by any other state. 

But out-of-control federal spending, a complicated and burdensome tax code, and senseless federal regulations are making it harder for Montanans to find good-paying jobs.

This isn’t the American Dream that our parents and grandparents worked to achieve. And it’s not the future I want to hand to the next generation of Montanans either.

We need policies that promote opportunity and help grow our economy, not by increasing the size of government, but by empowering hardworking Montana taxpayers.

Montana’s abundant natural resources hold tremendous potential for growing our state’s economy and creating good-paying jobs.

That’s why I’m working toward commonsense forest management reforms that would help keep our forests healthy and revitalize our timber industry – creating more than 4,000 good Montana jobs and growing the economy of our forest counties in the process.

And if President Obama would approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, we could create 800 good, new Montana jobs and provide $60 million per year in tax revenue for Montana.

We should be encouraging the responsible development of our coal and natural gas reserves and increasing access to timber for our mills – not putting senseless barriers in place.

Coal not only powers more than 50 percent of Montana’s homes and business – it creates greatly needed jobs on our reservations.

But the Obama administration’s new, out-of-touch regulations on coal-fired power plants and efforts to stop mining in states like Montana stand as a direct threat to good-paying Montana jobs and Montana families’ access to affordable energy.

The Chairman of the Crow Tribe recently told me “a war on coal is a war on Crow families.”

And when asked what his top three priorities were, he simply stated “jobs, jobs, and jobs.”

 The Chairman’s desire to see a growing economy and good paying jobs on the Crow Reservation is a vision that we share for all Montanans and all corners of our state.

We have some great examples of entrepreneurial job creation in Montana – but we need more. Our Montana quality of life combined with our quality Montana workforce is a recipe for success. 

We must restore the American dream, by encouraging incentives for hard work, innovation and productivity, and getting government out of the way so that Montana small businesses are empowered to do what they do best: grow and create jobs.

We need more job creation stories in Montana.  We need leaders who understand what it takes to create employment opportunities in the private sector.  With some commonsense Montana solutions and a good dose of more jobs and less government, I'm confident we can do it.


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