Democrats release broad Montana jobs plan

Associated Press Published: September 19, 2012

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana Democrats on Wednesday released a jobs plan for the state that is broad in scope but short on specifics as they seek to regain control of at least one legislative chamber this fall.

The six-part plan outlines proposals for education and job training programs, business taxes and regulations and natural resource development. They plan to divide the proposals among their party's legislative candidates and get the word out by door-to-door campaigning, said Sen. Carol Williams, of Missoula.

Williams, Rep. Chuck Hunter, of Helena, and House candidate Jenny Eck, also of Helena, said the plan is the product of legislators listening to the ideas of business owners, public employees, tribal leaders and educators in 16 cities and towns over the past year.

"We hope, no matter what happens in the election, whoever controls the next Legislature in Montana will come together and join with us to try and pursue some of these things that we have learned on this trip," Williams said.

Republicans in 2011 held majorities in both the state House and Senate. Democrats hope to take back at least one of the chambers in the Nov. 6 election, while the GOP is aiming to win governor's office and control both the executive and legislative branches.

The Democrats' plan includes more funding for existing economic development programs, using energy development revenue to fund infrastructure projects in the eastern Montana oil patch and providing small businesses stability instead of regulations that change from year to year.

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