Saturday, February 04, 2023

It’s a darn thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides

| January 12, 2023 12:00 AM

A question was posed this year at Christmas Dinner: What is the greatest challenge facing our country? Together, we agreed the answer was civility. Fortunately, it is potentially also our largest opportunity. Through civility, we put away the fear that divides and start solving problems that plague our families and communities.

While the Legislature is a place where civility is sometimes strained, as elected leaders we must set the example, quashing internal hostilities that seek to tear us apart. We needn’t agree on everything to deliver solutions for Montana, but we do need to listen to one another.

Montana’s 68th Legislature will need all the civility it can muster to address the surplus of approximately $2 billion dollars. Make no mistake – management of this surplus will be the most impactful issue of the session.

Property tax relief, direct rebate, and key tax credits will be considered. The Legislature must also tackle the question: Is a simple return best or should we consider return of investment for taxpayers? For instance, is paying down the debt on state bonds, saving Montana taxpayers money in the long run, a wise tool for putting money back in the pockets of the people? There are dozens of considerations if we are to responsibly handle what is likely a once-in-a-generation occasion.

There will be different opinions and impassioned political positions this session. Perhaps my grandmother Mary Kay Riedel, who once served as a Flathead County Justice of the Peace, said it best, “It’s a darn thin pancake that doesn’t have two sides.” Today, her advice rings true.

Our country was built on a belief in the vigorous, respectful, and transparent debate of ideas. Through this process, we ensure liberty and uphold the constitutional promise of a Representative Republic; the people of Montana deserve no less.

Courtenay Sprunger

Representative, Montana House District 7


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