In the mail

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The views of our readers

Affordable care

To the editor,

Montanans have had a difficult year. The pandemic and resulting economic struggles, school closures and job losses have created hardships for too many families. The crisis has also proven the importance of making sure Montanans can access the health care they need, when they need it, which is why it’s so important for Montana voters to understand the consequences of the proposals being pushed by Washington politicians.

By now, most Montanans understand that Medicare for All would be a disaster, taking away all existing health coverage and forcing each American into the same one-size-fits-all system while exploding federal spending by tens of trillions of dollars, a cost that would be forced onto the backs of hardworking Montanans through unaffordable tax increases. But you’ve probably heard less about another proposal that would lead us in the same direction: the supposedly moderate “public option.”

At a time when hospitals are already struggling and are projected to lose $49.6 billion in revenue in 2020, new research reveals that implementing the public option would increase those losses to over $79.2 billion. This would put many hospitals at a greater risk of closing – especially hospitals that serve our rural communities. Hospital closures would mean waiting longer or traveling further to see your doctor.

And, just like Medicare for All, the public option would mean trillions in new spending, becoming the third largest government program behind Medicare and Social Security. The costs would be passed on to consumers and taxpayers, including the middle-class families hit hardest by our recent economic downturn.

Instead of turning to unaffordable new government-controlled health insurance systems that harm our hospitals and put our access to care at risk, we need market-based policies that can strengthen our current health care system and help Montana families get the affordable, quality care they deserve.

Rep. Ray Shaw (R-HD 71)


PSC pick

To the editor,

All Montanans know the embarrassing infighting, underhanded dealings, extreme partisan decisions, and corporate deference that have been overturned by Montana’s courts, that have been a centerpiece of the shenanigans of the all-Republican members of the Public Service Commission. Perhaps these five rascals were voted to their jobs because they had an “R” after their name on the ballot.

Now, voters can have a choice by truly knowing the backgrounds of candidates before they give them this critical seat on a board that affects citizens’ energy futures and finances.

James Brown, candidate for PSC Dist. 3, is NOT the candidate to further serve as a check on the childish antics of the PSC. Brown’s residency has called into question whether he even lives in District 3. Brown’s advocacy for undermining Montana elections with the abuses of Dark Money, associated with American Tradition Partnership, are notorious. He is now in court arguing against counties seeking to use mail ballots in this election. Brown’s record indicates that he would not represent the role of the PSC as a fair arbiter of citizen/monopoly issues.

Tom Wood, Dist 3 candidate, is the man for the PSC seat. He has worked openly and tirelessly for transparency and integrity on energy issues for eight years in the Legislature.

His record is clear and proven. Tom can be trusted to follow his oath of office. Not Brown.

Pat Bradley

Twin Bridges

Rule breakers

To the editor,

What’s going on in Washington D.C.? What are the Republicans up to? Four years ago the Republicans created a rule in order to steal a seat on the Supreme Court. Which they did. Now four years later they are going to break their own rules in order to steal another seat on the Supreme Court.

What? Is there one honest Republican in Washington? Can we ever trust any of the Republicans again?

The Republicans are killing their own party.

LaVon Brillhart


Heads up

To the editor,

Clenera, the solar farm developer is back. They are currently proposing two solar farm projects (Rattlesnake Solar and Upland Argenta Solar - approximately 1,524 acres) to be built across/by the Beaverhead County Landfill on Ten Mile Road. Clenera has applied to the Beaverhead County

Clenera has applied to the Beaverhead County Commissioners requesting a 75 percent tax abatement incentive for the next 10 years. The county commissioners have the choice, by law, not to give a tax abatement incentive, or to give either a 50 percent or 75 percent abatement. It needs to be noted here that Clenera will also be receiving 50 percent depreciation on their projects in the first year plus a 30 percent federal tax incentive to build this facility. Therefore 80 percent of these facilities will be paid for up front by tax dollars. Now they do not want to pay full Beaverhead County taxes. This benefits their investors only. In the past Clenera has declined to divulge who their investors are. Also the power generated from this facility is going out of state to possibly Washington and California.

I am opposed to any sort of tax abatement from Beaverhead County to Clenera. The numbers from Department of Revenue for a public hearing a few weeks back are:

75 percent abatement would save Clenera $6.3 million over 10 years, per project or $12.6 million total for both solar projects.

50 percent abatement would save Clenera $4.2 million over 10 years, per project or $8.4 million total for both solar projects.

Depending on the Department of Revenue, these numbers could change but this is what they are showing now.

They need to pay their fair share. With these extra dollars Beaverhead County citizens would benefit in possibly road and bridge maintenance and may be able to reopen our County Museum among other improvements and projects.

Some people say, just take what they will give you, and give them the abatements. No, it is time to get the full value of their taxes. We, taxpayers of Beaverhead County, do not get abatements and they should not either.

Please contact our Beaverhead County Commissioners on this matter. Let them know if you support tax abatement for wealthy out-of-state investors or if you are opposed. Either write to the commissioners at 2 S. Pacific St., Dillon, Montana or e-mail them at mmcginley@beaverheadcounty. org,, or jjackson@

Myrna Carpita


New business

To the editor,

This letter comes from someone whose only business background rests on having opened the first Nearly New Shop on Orr Street in 1979, so although I have some questions, I’m ready to be informed by people knowledgeable in the business field. I’ve no quarrel with Myrna Carpita, the County Commissioners or anyone else affected by the proposal of two new solar farm projects in Beaverhead County.

I’d like to have some numbers describing how States lure new businesses and start ups. I’ve not a clue, except what I’ve read, of what is a reasonable offer to new businesses to relocate. Are the numbers named in Ms. Carpita’s letter relatively consistent with what other States offer to bring in business? Is it common practice to offer generous incentives to make executives decide to open in a new area? I think I’m asking, what’s the going rate for luring new business in this country? I’d also like to know if there’s any wiggle room in Clenera’s offer for negotiation? (You can see I’m not a businesswoman.)

To my mind, from a great-grandparent celebrating the birth of our 11th great-grandchild, I’m wondering what kind of air he’ll be able to breathe? Will there be forests left to hunt or recreate in Montana? Will the water he and his family drink be clean enough to drink? I’m told that many indigenous people considered the next generations; this represents honor and foresight. Are we even trying to do that? Are the “Me First” attitude, “What’s in it for me?” the most vital considerations in the kind of alternate energy planning and funding being done for our children and theirs? Could we consider participating in something bigger and more helpful than just what touches us immediately?

Am I mistaken? Do not investors invest to make money? Did Clenera ever present itself as a charity? Are there not people in our country who benefit from profits earned by investing?

Just thinking here and ready for further input.

Val Neeley


Fair share

To the editor,

Thank you Val Neeley for responding to my letter to the editor regarding the solar project on Ten Mile Road.

You have asked some very good questions. What do other states do to entice businesses with incentives? That, I cannot answer definitively but I would guess it varies state by state. And, yes investors invest to make money and benefit from profits. I have no quarrel with that but I believe we must look at how all of this impacts Beaverhead County.

First, Clenera is getting huge tax breaks from both depreciation and federal subsidies. At this point I have no information as to Clenera requesting tax abatement from the State of Montana directly, only requesting tax abatement incentives from Beaverhead County.

This brings us to Beaverhead County, but first of all let us look at what the definition of economic development is. Economic development is a process of targeted activities and programs that work to improve the economic wellbeing and quality of life of a community by building local wealth, diversifying the economy, creating and retaining jobs, and building the local tax base.

There will be an initial economic impact from the construction of this project during the period of it being built. Clenera generally works with their contractor to do their construction. There might be some work for subcontractors and a few local employees. There also will be a boost to the local motels, restaurants and other businesses but once the initial building of this solar facility is finished, so is the majority of the economic boost.

The economic wellbeing and building quality of life for our community by building local wealth is gone.

The diversity of the economy is pretty much not there.

Creating and retaining jobs – Creating, initially, yes, retaining long term, no. Clenera will not commit as to if there will be any long term employees here, nor how many. They did state that there might be one to four employees at some point but are vague on this point. Even four employees will not justify or offset $12 million + - in lost revenue.

Building a local tax base. Yes, it creates a local tax base, which they do not want to pay. Instead they only want to pay 25 percent of the taxes assessed.

There is only one economic building block, long term, to benefit Beaverhead County and that is the local tax base. They need to pay their fair share.

We, local residents, do not get tax abatements or incentives to live here. We live here because we love the area, work in the area, and are a part of this community and this is home to us. Clenera will have a presence here in large facility, but without any community loyalty or involvement. I think we must look at this very closely as to the full impact of this project and their unwillingness to pay their fair share of taxes to support Beaverhead County.

Myrna Carpita