Missoula Legislator Says The Budget Is His Priority in 2017 Session
Missoula Republican Adam Hertz was sworn in along with all the other state house members on Monday, and jokingly added that 'now, I'm ready to be sworn at!"
Hertz represents House District 96, which includes most of northwest Missoula, and said the biggest challenge facing the legislature this session is keeping the state's budget in balance.
"It's going to be a tough year for the budget because revenues are down and expenses are still coming in, but what's really important to me in that budget is that we don't raise taxes, and we don't grow government," Hertz said. "I do think it's important that we fund an infrastructure bill, but we need to focus on core infrastructure items like roads, bridges and sewer and water projects, and leave the pet projects out, such as several million dollars for a new building for the Montana Historical Society."
Hertz struck a conciliatory tone like all legislators do at the outset of a new session, to reach across the aisle for bipartisanship.
"I have several bills that I think will have bipartisan support," he said. "I've got some urban renewal district reform that will be very good for the taxpayers."
Like Democrat Kimberly Dudik, Hertz has a proposal for business tax breaks related to education.
"I'm working on a STEM loan payoff, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, which states if you graduate from a Montana University System school and stick around to work in Montana that you can get some significant help in paying off your student loans," he said. "I hope these bills will help Montana's economy move forward."
Hertz acknowledges that Republicans hold majorities in both houses once again, but they are not veto-proof.
"I think it depends on the bill," he said. "Any veto override is going to require some bipartisanship and we tend not to see that on veto overrides, but that remains to be seen."