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Letters to the Editor: death on the streets—Missoula > Great Falls?—Bullock's solo show—and the continued (and timely) existence of the ACA

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Sympathies?

They need more than a place to sleep at night just to turn around and go and drink and panhandle during the day (“The season’s first cold snap claims homeless man Timothy Lloyd’s life,” Nov. 9). That is not the answer. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t end.

Kat Taylor

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


Fix it

Other cities solve this. Let’s open our minds and hearts. This is horrible.

Jane Tremper East

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


Smiles for all

Working downtown the last 10 years, I knew both these men, who always had smiles to share.

Jeremy Watterson

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


Rain on the parade

“It’s illegal to sleep inside the pedestrian bridge, and Wood says that city staff had confiscated a set of Lloyd’s blankets left there a few days before he died (he was able to replace them).” Wake up, Missoula—you all make a big stinking deal about some stupid parade, but this is all you need to know about how “inclusive” this community is.

Artemis Throckmorton

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


Skewed priorities

In this country there is no excuse for homeless people to freeze to death. This country finds money for foreign nations and bringing refugees here, but doesn’t take care of those people that are so vulnerable.

Joan Lajoie

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


All of the above?

Interesting (“Make Great Falls … Missoula?” Nov. 9). I wonder what the attraction is? Obscene property taxes? Poor-paying jobs? High cost of homes? Traffic congestion? Failing university?

Tom Schussler

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


The bright side

Extremely close to mountains, multiple ski areas, diversity, community feel in a larger town, wonderful people, so much to do at all times of year. I’ll pay the high property taxes, no problem, just wrote the check yesterday, actually. We have a lot of growth and wonderful things happening. You have to know when and where to drive, but traffic really isn’t that bad. The people from out of town that don’t know how to drive here is the issue. [University] attendance is down, but they will bounce back. Poor-paying jobs? Any better than Great Falls? I highly doubt it.

You can look at any city and find the negatives if you want to. It’s all how you look at it.

Mandy D. Taylor

facebook.com/missoulaindependent


On his own

Gov. Bullock has called a special session of the Legislature. He is interested in some cuts and transfers in state government to shore up the shaky budget. Also included, however, will be “temporary revenue increases,” i.e., more taxes for working Montanans.

Referring to the tax increases in a recent news article, he stated, “In order to do that, though, I need to have a willing dance partner.”

I think the legislators should sit this dance out. He has had ample opportunity to get the budget realigned without a special session, and has been doing the tango across the state with groups that are concerned about their budgets.

I think this is the time in the dance card to eliminate more “vacancy savings” and be more creative to not cut funds that help our neediest populations.

Legislative Audit looked into vacancy savings during a performance audit in 2004. At that time, the vacancies had doubled in a 12-year period with more than a thousand unfilled positions in state government. Three hundred had been vacant for more than a year.

Thirteen years ago that would have amounted to a savings of between $21 and $34 million for the biennium. What would it be now? How many “vacant” positions are there still in state government, allowing agencies to use the money without going through the appropriation process?

It’s time to do the jitterbug and shake out the millions of dollars in bloated budgets in order to allow good programs to continue functioning without cuts.

No matter how you twist the facts, Gov. Bullock’s budget was his making. Now he must shimmy his way into correcting it without the locomotion of the Legislature.

We may have to swim into Helena for one vote to fix the fire funds and make small tweaks to others, but nothing else. Will I go to Helena and vote for tax increases, no matter how “temporary” they are? No way!

The spotlight’s on you, Gov. Bullock. Tax increases are your solution to getting us out of the mess? Time for the “pas seul.” Solo it is with you in the limelight.

Sen. Dee Brown

Hungry Horse


ACA now

While some have sought to keep this sign-up period hidden (did somebody whisper “the White House”?), please know:

The ACA (Obamacare) is still on! There has been no repeal, and its insurance plans, requiring annual enrollment, remain affordable for most.

The 2018 Open Enrollment sign-up period this year is half as long as it was. You have from Nov. 1 through Dec. 15. That’s now!

Benefits remain as before. These include required acceptance, regardless of pre-existing conditions, free preventive care, etc.

You are legally required to carry health insurance.

Insurers are still required to provide subsidies, if you qualify and sign up through the Healthcare.gov federal exchange. In fact, subsidies have risen, alongside premiums.

If you’re currently covered by an ACA plan, you may score a better plan for less by looking again at plan choices for 2018. Shopping for the best plan for you can be even more valuable this year than before.

Unlike past years, automatic re-enrollment notifications will arrive in your mail after the current sign-up period. You may not like 2018’s terms for your current plan. Shop now.

Certified Navigators are available to help you select a plan and sign up. See

covermt.org

Time’s limited, and health insurance is worth it. Don’t miss out!

Eric Mendelson

Missoula

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