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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Legislature Debates Charging A Fee For Managing Workers Compensation Fund

Rep. Ed Buttrey (R) - Great Falls
Corin Cates-Carney
Montana Public Radio
Rep. Ed Buttrey (R) - Great Falls. File photo.

A proposal to temporarily charge a fee for state management of Montana's workers' compensation fund drew strong opposition as lawmakers began a special session to address a $227 million budget shortfall.

The 3 percent management fee on Montana State Fund assets above $1 billion would raise an estimated $30 million.

The chairman of the state fund board, Kevin Braun opposes the fee, saying the fund’s investments are currently paying less than three percent.

"Our returns are declining. That fee is in excess of the return that we realize on that money," he said.

Deputy insurance commissioner Bob Biskupiak argued Monday the money came from policyholders and should remain with them.

Great Falls Republican Sen. Ed Buttrey sponsored the measure. He and other supporters say the temporary fee is better than cutting services to vulnerable citizens.

A joint committee has yet to vote on the bill.

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