Democrats have joined together to support worker retraining, keep taxes fair for small businesses, and fund infrastructure. Our 2011 bonding bill would have funded a new College of Technology in Missoula, new historical museum in Helena, new science education building at MSU-Billings, new veterans' home in Butte, and other renovation projects across our state. By selling $97 million in bonds, we could have funded these projects and created hundreds of jobs. Today we have a $450 million state budget surplus. We could pay outright for these projects. Instead we have workers moving from the Flathead, Missoula, Bitterroot Valleys and across to Montana to work in eastern Montana and North Dakota oil fields, leaving their homes and families behind when they could be home working here for a better future for our state.
On education, some Republican legislators have argued that high school graduates have more opportunities than people with some college or with college degrees. They say, "My son can earn $50,000 a year driving truck in the oil fields. He doesn't need a college education." Such agruments don't recognize the long-term implications for our state and our citizens. Study after study shows high unemployment and low income for students without at least some college. The unemployment rate in this graph http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_chart_001.htm from the US Department of Labor shows the unemployment rate at 10.3% for people with a high school diploma and 5.4% for those with a college education. The average weekly wage for those with a college education $1068 a week, $626 a week for those with a high school diploma. Education matters. Education pays.