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Sidney Herald
Sidney , Montana
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April 30, 2003     Sidney Herald
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April 30, 2003
 

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4A-Wednesday, April 30, 2003 Serving the MonDak area since 1908 ditorial The decision's been made. A part of West Side Ele- mentary School will be closed next year due to the declining enrollment and lack of funding. This was a hard decision for the Sidney School Board. Many people who no longer have children in school may think the closing of West Side doesn't affect them, but whenever any part of a community is forced to close its doors it affects everyone. Loss of jobs, cutting educa- tional programs and the lack of money to educate our children has a bearing on each and every one of us. Superintendent of Schools Doug Sullivan recently said, "This decision can and likely will be modified at another time." Sullivan also said "I hope and pray the (state) Legislature realizes in the future how its lack of action affects school districts in the state." With the close of the 2003 Legislature Saturday, law- makers did approve a controversial school funding bill. Educational lobbyists came out at first in full force against the bill, saying it would cost the needy Montana schools millions of dollars. But after long hours of dis- cussion with the governor's office, the Montana School Board Association and the Montana Rural Education Association chose to support the bill, "a balanced com- promise." The plan is to make schools use federal funding to pay iretirement contributiohs for employees who are paid iwith federal funds. Right now, some teachers are paid with federal money, but their retirement pkins come ifrom state and local dollars. The only problem is for ithose schools with declining enrollment or schools in flow-income areas that are already using their federal !dollars to pay for programs or other salaries - the feder- ',al money is already tied. up. ! A plus on the bill is the state will be able to raise the iper-student dollars that schools get from the state. It lwould increase the amount by 1 percent and then 2.07 !percent the next year. i An inflation division was also a part of the bill, allow- *, png for inflation the next time the Legislature appropri- fates money to schools. Funds will be given not only for ithe number of students a school has, but the state will ialso look at what it costs in terms of salaries and servic- to educate Montana's children. I Time will tell on how the new funding bill will pertain Ito rural schools. It's a sad disappointment when we close ipart of a school to keep our head above water. What's the big deal about the Dixie Chicks? One member of i the trio made a negative com- ment about President George W. Bush, and suddenly people are burning and smashing their i records in protest. Number one, who cares what ! the Dixie Chicks say? The group provides great entertainment, i but should we worry about how the Chicks feel about politics? They have said they totally sup- port our military troops, they just don't admire the command- er in chief. ; The situation kind of reminds me when the Green Bay Packers won the Super Bowl. When the team was invited to the White House, tight end Mark Chmura refused to attend because he did- ;n't care for President Clinton. That showed a lot of respect for i the office, but I don't believe !any Packer fans really cared about Chmura's political stance ! come Sunday afternoon. i (Thingsturned worse for Chmu- ra, however, when he was arrest- led for being at a party with i minor girls, but that's a different I story). [ It's nice the Dixie Chicks and l other entertmners actually think i about events outside the stage, I but let's not take them too seri- i ously. Instead, let's enjoy their I talents and leave it at that. If we i don't need to worry about their f T o D /f- la lners Bill Vander Weele managing editor political views, we iust want o listen to 'their ,music. OoO Randal Rudolph expressed his disap- pointment to me the BY THOMAS D. ROWLEY Sen. Byron Dorgan from North Dakota wants to throw a wrench in what he calls the "relentless engine bf depopulation'in the heartland of our country." How? By doing what the original Home- stead Act did nearly a century and a half ago: giving people financial incentives to live and work in the rural Great Plains. That a reprise of the 1862 Act is necessary says something about the policies that fol- lowed it. After luring people in with a quarter- section of land, we proceeded to chase them out by subsidizing and promoting corpora- titons over families, lechnology over people, and big over little. Pretty soon, there wasn't much reason to stay - so many didn't. Parts of the region, especially the remote, rural parts, have been sliding downhill ever since. Now, with Dorgan's New Homestead Act of 2003, we'll try to stop that slide and move some of those people back. The act proposes to help repopulate coun- ties that have seen 10 percent or more net out-migration over the last 20 years. To do that, it will help individuals who live and work for five years in such areas to repay college loans, buy a house and protect their home values. It will also establish something called Individual Homestead Accounts that help folks save money to start a business, buy a home, get an education, or pay for health care. To help the business sector in those coun- ties, the act provides a variety of incentive tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and a $3 billion venture capital fund - to locate, expand, or invest in these high out-migration areas. All of which sounds pretty good. After iuring i eople :in with a quarter-section proceeildl tb c'h'age them but By subsidizing ing corporations over families, technology over and big over little. Pretty soon, there wash to stay- so many dMn't. Parts of the region, the remote, rural parts, have been sliding since. Joe Dunn, associate legislative director at prises, and keep community the Nation Association of Counties, calls it control of heil: own future. "a pretty bold plan" that provides "some Likewise, he says the act good carrots." target lower-income people Chuck Hassebrook, executive director for ing incentives to everyone the Center for Rural Affairs in Walthill, need or means. The banker's Neb., likes it too. He particularly favors the need help paying Homestead Account, which helps people ing a house, says gain assets with which to advance them- kid and the waitress's kid do. selves and build their futures. Will the New Homestead He also likes the 30 percent tax credit for knows? Last year's version investing in small owner-operated businesses, out of committee, and this "We do all these things to subsidize big competing with a war abroad employers to relocate, but micro-businesses home. Dunn says cost could be a are responsible for the overwhelming major- to overcome. ity of job creation in the Plains," says Has- Will it sebrook. "We need to help people start small that it's not the whole answer businesses." ical piece, a good start in That said, Hassebrook sees room for decline and revitalizing refinement in the act. As drafted, he says, At any rate, it's a lot better some of the tax incentives could be used to Great Plains than was the continue subsidizing corporate meg,ffarms region - the Buffalo Commons. and confined animal feedmg oper ons - course, you're a bison. the exact opposite of what is needed, with their dismal jobs and damage to the et!viron- - Thomas D. Rowley is ment. Instead, the act needs to bettei" target Policy Research Institute in small business, create locally-owned enter- Views of our readers other day about his past arcade. Heclosed State employees don't receive t; the business, located across from Sidney Middle School, several weeks ago. " i. the Editor: ....... taxes as ex4ery0ne.elso -. l th tederal and needy, to He stressed Sidney doesn't Having been a state employee for many state, support for the public safety provide anything for teenagers, years, I was absolutely amazed to read the While churches and some retirees do have imthis state - you name He said when the arcade was recent letter from Gloria Buxbaum. A letter receive a tax break from the state of Mon- dollars are used. open it was detering youngsters that contained some very erroneous infor- tana, active working state employees do These tax dollars are used from drinking alcohol. He said mation, not. tax dollars paid by every since the closing, more arrests Ms. Buxbaum needs to understand this: Every year for the past 28 years, I have state of Montana. State have been made regardingGovernment workers pay the same rates of received a W-2 from the state of Montana. employee or private citizen. TaX underage drinking, income taxes, property taxes, and if applica- Then I file my taxes, just like everyone else. come from all parts of Montana .. ble, sales taxes as anyone else. I repeat - My taxes are used for supporting the univer-Kimberly A reminder to all American government workers pay the same rate of sity systems, proving assistance for the Legion baseball players about Wednesday's sign-up meeting at 7 p.m. at City Hall. Arule change now permits 19- year-old boys, as of Dec. 31, To the Editor: 2003, to play. The previous rule I cannot pass up correcting Gloria was the oldest you can be was 18 Buxbaum about her statements that govern- years old. Hopefully, the change ment employees do not pay taxes. This will translate to larger rosters, rumor or notion was my pet peeve when I especially in the programs of worked for the state of Montana at Montana smaller towns. State University-Bozeman years ago; and when I worked for the federal government Notion'isn't true tha't employees don't pay for 26 years. Maybe the state of Montana has changed, but I really doubt it. I know that I paid feder- al and state taxes when I worked for Mon- tana State University. And I definitely paid my fair share of federal taxes and paid appli- cable state taxes of the states that I worked in when I worked for the federal government. I also paid federal and state years of military service. I am now retired and state taxes on both my retirement. heroes st for To the Editor: This is the "Stand up for America Rally" speech by Beth Chapman, Alabama state auditor: I'm here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for my freedom I am not here tonight because Sheryl Crow, Rosie O'Don- nell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue sacrificed their lives for me. If my memory serves me correctly, it was not movie stars or musicians, but the U.S. military who fought on the shores of Iwo Jima, the and the beach- es of Tonight, I we should support the president of the United States lost their lives. and the U.S. military and tell the liberal, On Dec. 7, 1941, there are nol tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippy, movie stars treading the tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies Pearl Harbor. On Sept. 11,2001,1 and music and whine somewhere else. photos of movie stars standing After all, if they lived in Iraq, they would- shields" against the debris n't be allowed the freedom of speech they ascending from the World are being given here today. Ironically, they When the USS Cole was would be put to death at the hands of Sad- were no movie stars guarding dam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. The America has remained movie stars say they want to go to Iraq and God-fearing serve as "human shields" for the Iraqis. I say long. May GOd bless America, let them buy a one-way ticket and go. the free, the home of the No one likes war, I hate War. But the one est country on the fact of this thing I hate more is the fact this country has Mr. and Mrs. into have