state budget

Montana House Speaker Austin Knudsen at a Republican caucus press conference Tuesday
Corin Cates-Carney

Governor Steve Bullock’s outline for the special legislative session began to unravel yesterday as the Legislature's Republican majority moved their own plan for balancing the state budget

Montana House of Representatives.

After weeks of build-up, a special legislative session began Tuesday afternoon in Helena with the intent of balancing the state budget. But after a day of hearings yesterday, and political maneuvering today, it’s still unknown how that will happen. Governor Steve Bullock’s original outline for how to plug the $227 million hole in the state budget was quickly expanded by the Republican majority.

School bus in Colstrip, MT.
Amy Martin

The transportation block grants Montana pays to school districts are one of the sources Governor Steve Bullock is looking at to help fill Montana’s budget shortfall. Eliminating those grants in 2019 would save the state nearly $12 million.

But not all school districts have a reserve fund to fall back on. Some that do can’t sustain the loss over an extended period of time.

Lawmakers Consider Hiking "Bed Tax" And Rental Car Tax

Nov 14, 2017

Montana Legislators are considering a temporary increase in lodging and car rental taxes to preserve some government services slated to be cut to address Montana’s projected $227 million budget shortfall. It's part of a 3-prong approach sought by Governor Steve Bullock that also includes budget cuts and fund transfers during the special Legislative Session that officially convenes Tuesday.

The special session of the Montana Legislature got underway with lawmakers still at odds with the Bullock Administration on how to deal with the projected $227 million budget shortfall. One sticking point remains over a proposal to accept $30 million in exchange for extending the contract for a private prison in Shelby another 10 years should be part of the mix.