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DPHHS And Budget Director Listening Session On Budget Restoration Priorities - 8/1 - Helena, Montana

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July 26, 2018View for printing

Today, I am pleased to announce that the State of Montana has had an increase in general fund revenue and I will have the opportunity to restore some of the budget reductions made by the Republican-majority in the Legislature.

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Gov. Steve Bullock: State of Montana will reverse up to $45M in budget cuts http://www.matr.net/article-83954.html

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In the 2017 Legislative Session, I proposed a balanced budget that would have avoided cuts and maintained our rainy-day fund. But the Republican-majority rejected this budget, depleted our rainy-day fund, and forced the state to budget based on unrealistic revenue projections. Those projections, combined with the most expensive fire season in our state's history, resulted in a $227 million shortfall that put the ending fund balance well below the legal amount. I was required, by law, to call a special legislative session to fix the state's budget.

Because of the actions we took during the special session to find savings, efficiencies, additional revenue, and budget transfers we balanced our budget and paid for Montana's record fire season. Since then, taxpayers have responded to the federal tax bill by paying their future tax years early because they were better off under the old system of deductions. The result is an increase in a one-time-only revenue--revenue that would have been expected to come in calendar years 2019 and 2020--that is now available to restore some cuts.

I also negotiated a two-year contract extension with CoreCivic, that includes conditions on human rights and job training, that will bring in an additional $34 million of our own taxpayer dollars back to Montana.

With the additional revenue, I will be restoring the legislature's cuts to Medicaid provider rates. I am also instructing Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) to come up with a plan for an efficient and fiscally-sound targeted case management program that will better serve the mental health system across Montana.

The priorities for restoring some of the additional cuts will be discussed next week at a listening session held by DPHHS Director Sheila Hogan and my Budget Director Dan Villa. This meeting will be held on August 1, 2018 at the Great Northern Hotel in Helena beginning at 10:30am.

You are invited to attend this meeting and give your thoughts and suggestions for where the State of Montana should prioritize the additional revenue. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to email your suggestions to me at: governor@mt.gov.

I am pleased that we are able to restore some of the harmful cuts from the 2017 regular and special sessions. A budget is a reflection of our values and priorities. As I have done every session, I will again propose a balanced budget to the 2019 legislative session that funds essential services Montanans expect and deserve. I will recommend revenue sources that make millionaires pay their fair share to fund essential services and build upon Montana's strong economy.

This last year has proven why I was so insistence on keeping money in the bank and it is time for the legislature to consider reasonable revenue enhancers. I expect the 2019 legislature to work with me this next session to set aside money for a rainy-day, fund essential services, and capitalize on areas to continue growing our economy.

Thank you again for your work on this issue with me and let me know if you have any further questions or comments.

Sincerely,

STEVE BULLOCK Governor


Reader Comments:




Good news,long hoped for. Never should have happened. Hurt vulnerable people unnecessarily. Overestimate revenue and design legislation to use the "shortfall" to reduce services others rightly deem "necessary" and appropriate. Does provide an opportunity, however, to seriously revue our revenue structure to better align it with the changes in our economy and our needs. Keep up the good work.




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