Legislative Finance Committee

State Senator Diane Sands (File photo).
Mike Albans

A group of Democratic state lawmakers say budget cuts to the state health department have created a public health emergency. They delivered a letter to legislative leaders and the governor Tuesday asking for emergency funding. 

Montana’s largest public pension funds Monday reported greater than expected returns on investments this year. But moving forward, one of them isn’t expecting such high returns to continue.

Both the Public Employees Retirement System and the Teachers Retirement System saw investment returns slightly higher than the 7.75 percent their investment managers expected.

Chair of the Legislative Finance Committee Rep. Nancy Ballance.
Mike Albans

Montana may need to change the way it applies taxes to collect revenue amid a changing state economy, according to state elected officials searching for solutions during the ongoing budget crisis.

Republicans Nancy Ballance, Llew Jones, and Eric Moore sit opposite Democrats Jon Sesso and Kelly McCarthy as they draft a letter asking the governor to reconsider  some of his 10 percent cuts to state agencies
Corin Cates-Carney

Updated 7:00 pm

Some Republican legislative leaders are now saying Montana will need a special session to deal with the state’s current budget crisis, and that they may bring debate of targeted, temporary tax increases.

Hamilton Representative Nancy Ballance joined several other Republicans on the Legislative Finance Committee yesterday in saying that the state needs to pay for this summer’s firefighting costs.

Some of the protesters at the state capitol Wednesday
Corin Cates Carney

State lawmakers started taking up the challenge of Montana's $282 million budget shortfall in the first of two days of hearings in Helena today.