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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Gov. cuts $23 million from infrastructure projects passed by the Legislature

Montana Capitol.
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte has removed $23 million in infrastructure projects passed by the state Legislature, claiming the projects weren’t thoroughly vetted.

Gianforte signed the bill containing money for projects on state property, but not before cutting several allocations. In a letter, Gianforte said he agreed with suggestions for cuts made by Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick, who called some of the spending unnecessary and wasteful.

The nixed projects include $6 million for the state’s Southwest Montana Veterans Home, $8 million for the Yellowstone Conservation Area and $1 million for a repair to the Chippewa Cree cultural ceremony building. Gianforte wrote the projects were added last minute or depend on federal funds that aren’t guaranteed.

Sen. Ryan Lynch, a Democrat from Butte who helped craft the bill, called the governor’s vetoes “completely out-of-touch” with most Montanans.

Because the bill passed with a two-thirds majority, lawmakers will be automatically polled on whether they want to override the governor’s cuts.

Majority Leader Fitzpatrick also called on the governor to make cuts to the state’s budget, including reducing the reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers, but Gianforte has yet to act on that bill.

Shaylee covers state government and politics for Montana Public Radio. Please share tips, questions and concerns at 406-539-1677 or  
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