I was going to write part of this as comments at other websites, but I really shouldn't be neglecting my own baby.
There has been some discussion on the Montana-tubez about an upcoming election and how people are going to vote, or should vote. Quite a bit of it has been about the 3 Initiatives on the ballot and the Constitutionally mandated call for a Constitutional convention vote. I'll get that one right out of the way first.
No. The Montana Constitution is elegant and able, and mucking with it in this manner would only screw things up. A lot of folk discuss the expense of a Constitutional convention, but that's beside the point to me. It works; don't screw with it. I write this knowing especially that those who favor a CC are after one thing most of all, to remove the plank of quality environment. Uhhhm, no. I just don't believe in destroying our state to save it.
The other no-brainer is CI-105. It seeks to muck with the Constitution as well , to change it such that it prohibit a tax that Montana doesn't have. It doesn't take a genius to see that it is the effort of an industry to favor itself at the expense of Montana's Constitution and it's democratic process. The legislature sets taxation, not out of state realtor associations. So, to CI-105, I say no. And to John Sinrud, I offer a heart felt Fuck You and Kiss My Ass, you self-serving Montana-hating piece of used toilet paper.
Now here's where it gets a bit trickier. I-161 would remove the protected pool of 5500 out-of-state hunting licenses offered to outfitters such that they can use them to drum up business. It would put those tags into public non-resident offering, and raise the price such that the state would garner more revenue from the sale. To this I say yes, and that puts me at odds with several people I respect.
Lets be clear right from the get go. Outfitting is an extraction industry based on renewable resource. That makes it little different from logging; it just shortens the time frame of renewal. Elk and deer are in limited supply, and a certain measure of the harvest is being taken from Montanans for private profit of outfitters. So lets just dispense with the idea of a "fair hunt" right out of the gate. It isn't fair. As I've indicated elsewhere, the tag allotment to outfitters is a business subsidy, offered by the state at the expense of the state. It shouldn't be surprising that I'm not in favor of that.
The claims from the anti-crowd of I-161 are that the release of these tags from the protected pool will drive outfitters out of business and that out-of-state hunters won't hunt without outfitters. These claims are contradictory, though that's probably not obvious on the surface. Where outfitting differs from other extraction industries is this: outfitting isn't profitable because every client gets a trophy elk. Outfitting is profitable because it is entertainment. No one pays a couple of grand because they need the spoils. The people who hire outfitters aren't trying to fulfill some Galtian quota of raw resource. They aren't needing the meat or the kill. They want it, and I haven't seen one argument or statistic yet that convinces me that they won't still want it. There will be those who will buy their tags (you can do it online, y'know) and come to Montana and get skunked like many of the rest of us do. And then there are those who will realize that their hunting experience is better with an outfitter. That's what they are paying for. Many out-of-state hunters will still prefer outfitters. And the only ones claiming that I-161 will put outfitters out of business, are the ones currently profiting from state largess ... the outfitters.
I am a hunter, and a Montanan. And more to the point, I don't believe in subsidizing industry, especially when there is no reason to do it, and it involves a very real cost in revenue and resource. I will vote yes on I-161.
Which brings me to I-164, the "Cap-the-Rate" initiative on payday lenders.
I work for a living, and the tired is setting in. So, I will carry this over to a part 2. But hey, the brother-in-law who had a heart attack is stable, and Teddy has his sutures out. That's good, right? See you all tomorrow.