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Native American Language Program Facing $250,000 Cut

Dancers at the Arlee  Esyapqeyni in June
Eric Whitney
Dancers at the Arlee Esyapqeyni in June

Funding for a Native American language preservation program could get cut next month if revenues don’t increase as the state fiscal year comes to an end. 

The State-Tribal Relations Interim Committee was briefed by legislative staff Thursday that budget cuts will be triggered in mid-August.

Amy Carlson, a Legislative Fiscal Analyst, says state revenues have continued falling below projections since lawmakers passed the state budget in April.

“Yes, we believe we will be hitting triggers," Carlson said, "certainly the most recent revenues would tell you that.”

Carlson says the latest state earnings from early June show state revenues about $60 million below projections. If those numbers hold, or continue to fall, cuts will be triggered that could include a fourth of the $1million dollar budget for a program to support language preservation efforts in Native American tribes.

Carlson says revenues could increase before the end of the fiscal year, but some amount of cuts in state programs are likely.

As budget cuts loom, the Montana Historical Society plans on absorbing a 16 percent cut, according a Thursday report from the Associated Press. That reports states the museum will cut its Saturday reference library hours, Thursday evening programs, and end guided tours of the state Capitol building.

End of year state revenue earnings will be released around July 25th.

Corin Cates-Carney manages MTPR’s daily and long-term news projects. After spending more than five years living and reporting across Western and Central Montana, he became news director in early 2020.
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