The Montana Senate has endorsed a $12 billion spending package to guide the state budget over the next two years.
Sen. Ryan Osmundson, Republican chair of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, says the budget proposal would increase state spending, but it remains a conservative budget.
The proposal would increase state spending by 3.6% over the last two year budget, without adjusting for inflation. The Senate endorsed it on a 33-17 vote with both bipartisan support and opposition.
The Senate made few amendments to the spending plan before sending it back to the House. Lawmakers added reporting requirements for funding for the Department of Public Health and Human Services and cut about $500,000 from the Department of Revenue’s budget.
Senate Republicans voted down proposals from Democrats to add spending for suicide prevention, helping low-income families pay for student lunches and for disability services.
The budget proposal must return to the House once more so representatives can consider Senate changes before it can head to the governor’s desk.