Montana's Republican leadership continues to trot out their facially absurd defense of HB 359, wringing their hands like the fictional character Helen Lovejoy from The Simpsons: "Won't somebody PLEASE think of the children!" As was written in the 1736 work, Melancholy State of Province, "Actions speak louder than words, and are more to be regarded." Consider the (in)actions of Gov. Greg Gianforte, who chose not to accept $10 million in federal money from the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer program. Jackie Semmens, a policy analyst with the Montana Budget and Policy Center, stated that “What I’ve gathered from the state is that they don’t see the need for P-EBT. And as a parent, I’m getting emails every week from my school saying they’re doing a food drive, they’re doing a coin drive, to assist families over the summer." Don't forget that this $10 million is part of a much larger sum — since 2021, Montana has declined more than $135 million in funding to combat hunger in Montana. This is the logical conclusion of the mantra of "personal responsibility" that the current-day GOP is so enamored with. This noble-sounding phrase exists solely to give the wealthy cover to pass laws and write policy that enriches themselves and their wealthy friends while allowing kids to go hungry. Someone certainly needs to think of the children, and it isn't the Republicans running the show in Helena.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.