The Billings Gazette asked Governor Brian Schweitzer (D-Montana) the following questions:
The Gazette invited Gov. Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat who is seeking re-election, and state Sen. Roy Brown of Billings, the GOP gubernatorial nominee, to address these education-funding questions:
A few weeks ago, the Billings school board cut $2.2 million out of its K-8 budget after a proposed $817,000 levy failed. Some education proponents say those developments are the result of the state failing to meet its constitutional mandate to fund a basic system of quality education.
Do you think the state education-funding system is fulfilling its mandate?
How have you as governor or state legislator worked to fulfill the education-funding mandate while balancing the state budget?
What changes – if any – do you propose that the 2009 Legislature make in how Montana funds its K-12 schools?
Schweitzer is correct to emphasize economic growth (or, put another way, expansion of the tax base rather than tax rates). A growing tax base is essential, as Schweitzer points out.