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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Montana Republicans Urge Spending Cuts To Deal With State Shortfall

Montana Capitol, Helena, MT.
William Marcus
/
Montana Public Radio
Montana Capitol.

Political salvos are flying between Governor Steve Bullock and Republicans amid a waiting game and hints of a special legislative session to potentially solve the budget crisis.

As Montanans wait to learn how, and if, the governor will follow through on his proposed 10 percent cuts to state agencies, Democratic and Republican leaders are digging into their tug of war over state spending.

Republicans are urging Bullock to cut government spending before considering any other solutions that would require lawmakers return to Helena. Some are calling his proposed cuts a scare tactic to spur a special session, but so far Republican leaders have not offered specific alternative cuts.

The governor has yet to call for a special session, but his office has suggested tax increases could help balance the state’s projected $227 million budget shortfall. Tax increases would require a special session.

On Monday a Bullock press release showed the governor with his arms around a family who relies on government programs at risk of being cut for people with developmental disabilities.

Republican Secretary of State Corey Stapleton joined the debate over the weekend, pushing for the governor to cut state spending. Stapleton suggested the state borrow money if cuts aren’t enough.

So far, a compromise between the parties on how to resolve the budget shortfall outside of Governor Bullock’s proposed cuts has yet to emerge.

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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