Bullock’s Mismanagement of State Finances Grows

Governor Bullock is struggling to properly manage Montana’s tax dollars. It has been reported that the Bullock administration made overpayments to SNAP recipients and “the error rate in Montana’s food stamp program rose last year to more than twice the national average.”

The federal government is now going to have to spend over $100,000 to fix the Bullock administration’s errors.

Bullock responded to his administration’s errors by calling it, “unacceptable.”  Where have we heard this before?

Several weeks ago, it was reported the Bullock administration mismanaged our bookkeeping and almost cost the state millions when auditors found 125 significant accounting errors.

Bullock’s response then? He called it … “unacceptable.”

Montanans are still waiting for Governor Bullock to take responsibility for his administration’s incompetence. In fact, no one has been held accountable. No one has been fired. The Bullock administration is all too content providing one excuse after another as they work to downplay their accounting debacle:

  • Bullock’s budget director called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”
  • The state accountant who oversaw the department responsible for these significant accounting errors was just transferred to work in another department.



Zinke’s Forest Reforms Pass House

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Resilient National Forests Act of 2015 (H.R. 2647) which includes Congressman Zinke’s forest reforms. Zinke’s reforms will revitalize Montana’s timber industry, help end frivolous job-killing lawsuits, and prevent wildfires.

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support, 262-167.

Zinke’s forest reforms will provide much needed economic support to local Montana communities that have been completely devastated by frivolous job-killing lawsuits from fringe environmental groups. This legislation will help grow our economy and create and protect thousands of good-paying Montana jobs supported by our timber industry.

These fringe environmental groups have created a false choice for Montanans: Either conserve Montana and stop timber harvests, or ruin our state. The reality is much different though: We can both responsibly develop our natural resources and protect and strengthen the health of our forests.




ICYMI: Montana Newspapers Blast Bullock Admin for Mismanaging Tax Dollars

The Billings Gazette and Montana Standard Editorial Boards blasted the Bullock administration for mismanaging our hard-earned tax dollars. Auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, which led to the first adverse report ever issued on the state’s finances.


Bullock Administration Mismanaged Tax Dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.

 

Billings Gazette: Gazette opinion: Take responsibility for terrible state budget

The State of Montana’s finances aren’t as rosy as we once imagined, and the same people who may have contributed to the mess may be the ones ultimately charged with cleaning it up.”

This wasn’t just a single accidental oversight. Instead, the problems are deep — 125 errors and lack of internal controls. Sadly, those controls, had they been in place, according to the audit division, could have caught these problems earlier. In other words, there weren’t even controls in place to catch problems.”

For his part, Gov. Steve Bullock called it “completely unacceptable.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a little deeper digging on how the problems happened? Granted, that is hard when folks like Villa are a part of the governor’s own administration. A deeper investigation might be politically uncomfortable.

The question remains: How members of his staff are being held responsible for such shoddy results?

The buck should stop at Bullock. Then again, with our accounting practices, how would we know where the buck stops or even if it’s there?

 

Montana Standard: Audit of state administration disturbing, unacceptable

The audit conducted by Hunthausen’s staff revealed some 125 errors in accounting for the state government’s finances. And while state budget director Dan Villa characterized some of the errors as simple clerical issues, the overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

Villa told the Associated Press, “It’s not misappropriating funds or hiding money.” We would respectfully point out that, given the nature of the errors in oversight, it is all but impossible to know if Villa is correct in that assertion.”

Bottom line: The state’s finances are being accounted for in an unbelievably slipshod manner. Montanans have a right to expect better. And for Hogan and Villa, inescapably the buck stops with them.”

The status quo is unacceptable, and Gov. Bullock must act decisively to clean this mess up.




Bullock Administration’s Incompetence Nearly Cost Us, Concerns Remain …

While Moody’s announced that our AA+ bond rating is unlikely to be affected by the Bullock administration’s incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, they still expressed concern over the weaknesses in the state’s ability to properly account for this money.

Last week, it was reported that auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, with many of these errors individually amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The auditor’s findings mark the first time an adverse report has ever been issued on Montana’s finances.  And, these disturbing findings threatened Montana’s fiscal health and could have cost Montana taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Montana Standard Editorial Board wrote, “The overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

After nearly a week of silence, Governor Bullock finally commented on this accounting debacle, calling it “unacceptable.”

Yet, the Bullock administration refuses to take responsibility for their high-level of incompetence:

  • Bullock’s budget director Dan Villa called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”


Here are a few examples of the Bullock administration’s mismanagement of our tax dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.



Chairman Essmann Announces Additions to MTGOP Leadership

Helena, MT – MTGOP Chairman Jeff Essmann announced today that Dan Happel has agreed to serve as MTGOP Finance Chairman and that he has appointed Will Deschamps as Chairman of the newly formed Republican Speakers Committee.

I am excited to have Dan and Will on our team as we come together for the 2016 elections and continue to build on our success,” said Jeff Essmann, newly elected Chairman of the Montana Republican Party. “Dan, Will, and I are ready to get to work and with their support we are going to have a stronger and more unified Montana Republican Party.”

Dan brings 45 years of business experience, enthusiasm, and a commitment to the MTGOP that makes him an essential figure in the party as we work together to raise the resources we need to help our candidates and organization do their job.”

Will’s six years of selfless leadership as Chairman of the MTGOP makes him the ideal appointment to get the Republican Speakers Committee off the ground as we work to provide organizations with speakers who are interested in hearing about Republican viewpoints and solutions to the issues of the day.”

“In their roles, both men will also be responsible for recruiting volunteers from across the spectrum of our party. By working together, we can share our conservative principles and advance our policies to make 2016 and beyond better for our cause and for Montana,” said Essmann.

I am ready to hit the ground running and work with Chairman Essmann to build our grassroots community and make sure our party has the resources to spread our message of limited government and advance our principles of conservative values, freedom, and economic prosperity,” said Dan Happel.

I look forward to working with Chairman Essmann as we build key relationships with local organizations and spread our Republican message across the state,” said Will Deschamps.

The MTGOP Finance Chairman will be responsible for growing the relationship and earning the support and confidence of the grassroots community of Montana Republicans to ensure our organization is well funded, prepared, and ready to win.

The Chairman of the Republican Speakers Committee will work closely with local organizations and provide them with speakers to discuss Republican viewpoints and solutions surrounding the key issues impacting Montanans.




Jeff Essmann Elected Chairman of the MTGOP

Helena, MT – On Saturday, June 26, 2015 delegates to the Montana Republican Party’s Officers’ Nominating Convention elected Jeff Essmann to serve as Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.

“It is truly an honor to be elected as your next Chairman. I am ready to listen and to get to work to advance our cause and elect more Republicans to statewide office,” said Jeff Essmann, Chairman of the Montana Republican Party.

“I want to thank former Chairman Will Deschamps for his selfless service and Dan Happel for his commitment to our party. I look forward to working with them both as we come together to grow the party and build on our success. Now is the time to unite as we work to make 2016 and beyond better for our cause and for Montana.”

“Over the last several weeks I have been listening to Republicans across Montana about how we can grow the party and make our organization stronger. As Chairman, I pledge to be open, honest, and accountable to every member of our party and to listen, communicate, and work with every person who supports our cause. We have a lot of work to do between now and the 2016 elections. The time for action is now and I am ready to get to work.”

As Chairman, Essmann has laid out a series of proposals to help strengthen the Montana Republican Party, including:

  • Focusing on candidate recruitment to field credible, principled Republican candidates up-and-down the ballot.
  • Making fundraising a priority so the MTGOP has the resources needed to help Republican candidates and organizations.
  • Reorganizing MTGOP operations and convening a strategic advisory team to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the MTGOP, solicit advice from across the party, and build an action plan for 2016.
  • Establishing a Young Leadership Group of younger Montana Republicans to lead the effort to engage their peers.
  • Providing regular and frequent updates to Montana Republicans so they can learn more about the party’s activities and how they can get involved.



MTGOP Commends AG Fox for Filing Lawsuit Against Obama-EPA Water Power Grab

Helena, MT – Attorney General Tim Fox and 12 other states today filed a lawsuit against the Obama-EPA Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule that grants the EPA authority to regulate all ponds, ditches, streams, and any body of water they declare subject to their oversight.

I commend Attorney General Tim Fox for standing up and fighting back against the Obama-EPA water power grab because this burdensome and overreaching regulation is a direct threat to Montanans’ way of life,” said Jeff Essmann, newly elected Chairman of the Montana Republican Party. The Montana Constitution says that all water in the state is ‘the property of the state for the use of its people,’ and this federal regulatory power grab violates the traditional and proper role of state supremacy in the control and regulation of our water– our most precious resource. Lastly, the Obama-EPA water power grab threatens Montanans’ access to water, their property rights, and jeopardizes the future of our agriculture and energy industries and the thousands of good-paying jobs they support.”

You can read AG Tim Fox’s Press Release here.