Now that Montana is a few months removed from a special legislative session called by Governor Bullock to balance the state budget, Montana Public Radio is checking in with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders to get their thoughts on what’s happened since they left Helena.
Tax Overhaul Means $20 Million Hit, But No Special Session Needed, Bullock's Office Says
Governor Steve Bullock’s budget director today said the federal tax bill passed by Congress is expected to result in a $20 million loss in state revenue over the next two years. And that loss is not significant enough to call a special legislative session or require further cuts to government spending.
State Legislature Working Toward More Accurate Revenue Forecasts
When it became clear that state revenues were falling short of expectations during the last legislative session, state lawmakers agreed they should start studying Montana’s changing economy.
Earlier in the session, revenue forecasts from legislative and executive branch analysts said the state’s economy was strong. But revenues ended up coming in way short and state lawmakers are starting to ask why.
Montana Ranchers Can Now Seek Compensation For Mountain Lion Predation
Since 2007 Montana taxpayers have compensated ranchers when wolves and grizzly bears kill their livestock — to the tune of up to $200,000 a year. Some of that money is also spent on projects designed to prevent predator conflicts. That earns it high marks from both ranchers and conservation organizations.
Last year, state lawmakers voted to add mountain lion-related losses to the compensation list for the first time. The problem is, the program didn’t get any additional funding to do that.