Week In Review: April 17-21, Part I

by Travis Mateer

As it currently stands, SB 523 was tabled this week on a 13-8 vote, but not after the director of the Missoula Redevelopment Agency, Ellen Buchanan, freaked out in an article claiming people like me have been CRIMINAL in our use of “disinformation”.

Here is a taste of the FEAR these addicts to public money experienced at the mere THOUGHT their access could be reduced in any way. From the second link (emphasis mine):

A group of Missoula Redevelopment Agency staff members and board members lashed out on Thursday at a bill that they say would “destroy” Tax Increment Financing in Montana, saying that there’s been a “criminal” amount of disinformation spread about TIF.

During a regularly scheduled board meeting, MRA director Ellen Buchanan didn’t hold back in criticizing Senate Bill 523 and its sponsor, Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson.

“The one that absolutely just destroys Tax Increment Financing in the state of Montana is a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Hertz and it just puts us out of business,” Buchanan said. “There’s no way to amend it that makes it functional or even just less efficient. It just destroys Tax Increment Financing.”

Buchanan devolves as this “article” continues, barely making sense as she lashes out at former City Council member, Jesse Ramos. Here is another excerpt that highlights how unhinged the possibility of reform has made these addicts (emphasis mine):

Buchanan said it’s a complicated, elaborate bill and she doesn’t think many lawmakers will be able to fully have time to figure out what exactly it would do. She believes it has a chance to become law simply because lawmakers don’t know its full ramifications.

It’s pretty scary,” Buchanan said. “It’s frightening for staff. It’s frightening for me and it’s frightening to city administration. So not to be a Debbie Downer, but it’s been a tough couple weeks around here.”

She said Tax Increment Financing is one of the only tools that cities and towns have in the state to incentivize the construction of housing for people with moderate incomes.

“This is just a tragic state of affairs,” said board member Tasha Jones.

“You watch what’s going on in Helena and it’s just terrifying,” Buchanan said. “It’s just a microcosm for what went on in D.C.”

In between the YOU’RE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND schtick, and the oblique January 6th reference, I count FIVE fearful adjectives deployed by Ellen Buchanan in this hilarious attempt to STOP any chance at reform before her favorite TOOL is blunted beyond recognition. Did it work?

Yes, it appears the behind-the-scenes efforts of the addicts were successful. So how’d they do it? Simple, they successfully depicted supporters of this bill as Missoula-centric complainers posing a dire risk to the GOOD users of public money in every other municipality across the state. From the first link (emphasis mine):

As the bill was debated this session, it became clear to many observers that the Tax Increment Financing methods used in Missoula were the main target of the bill. Many proponents and opponents of the bill came from Missoula.

On Friday, Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish, said he didn’t want a bill aimed at Missoula to affect communities around the entire state.

“My problem (was) with the way this occurred, because it seemed like we were dealing mainly with one community,” he said. “And my perception of this is I felt like I was sitting at a town hall meeting for the city of Missoula, hearing grievances and why some of the grievances were worthy of attention. We also heard comments, electronic correspondence from communities where this policy is working very well. And we’ve heard more of that than we did from the aggrieved community.”

Fern said he thinks it’s bad policy to change a statewide statute based on a particular community.

19 years ago Ellen Buchanan was salivating over her new role leading Missoula’s shadow government. This quote certainly looks different in 2023 than it did when the article was published in 2004. From the link (emphasis mine):

Buchanan said she was looking forward to the MRA’s semi-independent political environment. The board is appointed by the city government, but has a fair amount of autonomy in spending its tax-increment financing funds. In Johnson City, she reported directly to the city manager and found many issues to be caught “on the raw edge of politics.”

Yes, Ellen, when you’re spending OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY there will always be a raw edge to those decisions because it’s the politics that determines WHO is making them.

Getting SB 523 over the finish line was always a long shot, so just the fact it was drafted and made it as far as it did is a HUGE success in my book. And I’m going to build on that success.

For example, yesterday Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF) took on the shanty-shack/meth-den and by 6pm we had the structure completely GONE from the river bank. I’ll have a full report covering this cleanup on Monday, so stay tuned.

I’ll also be posting the Week in Review podcast episode later today, after finishing the clean up this morning. If you want to come help, I’ll be on site at Missoula College starting around 9am.

Another way to help my efforts is to use the donation button at my about page. Any little bit helps, especially as I figure out how to get the $900 bucks for the dumpster covered.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for more!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to Week In Review: April 17-21, Part I

  1. Pingback: As The Biden Administration Pretends To Address Homelessness, MRA Hands $55,000 To The Poverello Center | Zoom Chron Blog

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