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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

State Budget Going To Conference Committee For More Work

State budgets.

As expected, the Montana House rejected the Senate's work on the state's main budget bill. That means the bill now goes to a House-Senate Conference committee to work out the differences.Republican Representative Mike Miller says the budget is fine. He rose to speak against the motion basically to reject the Senate's changes.

"I think the budget has had plenty of time to be worked on by both Houses. If you go to conference committee it's not going to go down, it'll only go up from where it is now."

The state budget is more than just the numbers, says House Appropriations Chair Nancy Ballance. The Republican from Hamilton says it's about priorities.

"Just reacting to the comments from the Representative from Helmville. I do understand and I was extremely tempted to concur with this and get it done but I don't think that's the right thing to do for the state of Montana. And to say it goes  up is not a fait accompli and we cannot look at it that way. Our job's not done."

Ballance says the Senate amendments, the executive's requests, and the House actions all were offered in good faith. She urges the chamber to finish their work and send it to a Conference Committee.

The House agreed on a preliminary 88-to-12 vote.

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