MTPR

Jenny Eck

GOP Budget Plan Hopes To 'Corral' Governor

Nov 13, 2017
Rep. Rob Cook
Montana Legislature

Shelby prison deal could be Bullock’s “one exit”

As state lawmakers lay the groundwork for a special legislative session to tackle Montana’s $227 budget shortfall, the proposed GOP deal for how to plug the gap is coming into focus.

At the same time, two independent sources have confirmed to the Montana Free Press that Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, in “in talks” with top executives of CoreCivic, the owners of a private prison in Shelby that is at the center of the 2017 special session’s most contentious proposal. CoreCivic is offering to return $30 million in state money set aside for the eventual purchase of the 664-bed prison in exchange for a 10-year renewal on its contract to operate the facility. That contract is up in 2019.

Governor Bullock, with Budget Director Dan Villa. Governor Bullock released his revenue and spending plan Nov. 15 at the Capitol in Helena.
Corin Cates-Carney

State revenues have again fallen short of lawmakers’ expectations and could trigger funding cuts across state agencies in the coming months.

The big state budget bill landed on Governor Steve Bullock’s desk Monday, one of the final acts of the 2017 legislative session, which was gaveled to a close Friday.

MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney joins us for a look at what Montana lawmakers did and didn’t accomplish since convening in January.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Freddy Monares - UM Legislative News Service

The 2017 legislative session came to a chaotic end this morning. Democrats and Republicans fought until the final hour over funding long-term public works projects.

When the final gavel struck, Republicans leaders said they’re proud of their party’s unity and keeping government growth in check. Democrats also talked up their wins, but expressed frustration in being unable to accomplish their major goals.

Budget Stabilization Plan Outlines State's Response To Future Revenue Shortfalls
Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

At the end of a legislative session defined by the state having less money than initially projected, lawmakers Wednesday negotiated a new budgeting system designed to protect the state against future revenue shortfalls. 

With state revenues down from slumping markets for oil, gas, coal and agricultural products, lawmakers spent most this session arguing over spending priorities in the state budget.

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