Montana Public Radio

Dan Villa

Marilyn Bartlett might be the closest thing health policy has to a folk hero. A certified public accountant who barely tops five feet, Bartlett bears zero resemblance to Paul Bunyan. But she did take an ax to Montana’s hospital prices in 2016, stopping the state’s employee health plan from bleeding money.

“Marilyn is not a physically imposing person,” said Montana Board of Investments Executive Director Dan Villa, who worked closely with Bartlett in state government. “She is a blend of your favorite aunt, an accounting savant and a little bit of July Fourth fireworks.”

The Parrot Tailings removal project is underway in Butte. September 2018.
Nora Saks

Near Butte’s Civic Center, a massive construction project is going on across the street, in the heart of town. Mammoth excavators gouge out a colossal hole in the ground. Jumbo haul trucks whisk 70 ton loads of chewed-up earth away on repeat.

Tom Livers, has been named as Montana's new state budget director.
MontanaDEQ

Governor Steve Bullock named a new state budget director Thursday. Bullock is tapping the current head of the Department of Environmental Quality for the job as the state’s top accountant.

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


More than $45 million of the state budget will be restored under a plan by Governor Steve Bullock. It will unwind budget cuts enacted over the last year that have devastated parts of Montana's health care community.

Corin Cates-Carney

State budget director Dan Villa will leave that position in about five weeks to become the next executive director of the Montana Board of Investments.

Corin Cates-Carney

The Montana Board of Investments is expected Tuesday to formally name current State Budget Director Dan Villa as manager of the Montana Investment fund. Villa will oversee the board’s management of roughly $18 billion in state assets.

State Budget Director Dan Villa and State Health Department Director Sheila Hogan hear input on how to allocate $45 million in restored state funding at a listening session in Helena, MT August 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / MTPR

"This has been a very difficult year," says Sheila Hogan, director of Montana's state health department.

She was talking to hundreds of people online and in a hotel ballroom in Helena who were not shy about telling her just how tough their year has been. They were people impacted by a nearly three percent cut in payments to people and organizations that help Montanans on Medicaid.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and Lt. Gov. Mike Cooney talk with reporters in the State Capitol about state budget cuts, July 25, 2018.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Governor Steve Bullock says state agencies will soon see some of the more than $70 million in state budget cuts made during last November’s special session restored, because state revenues have bounced back.

“As we close the fiscal year we find that we’ll have the ability to put about $45 million to restore some of the cuts that occurred,” Bullock said.

Governor Bullock shovels the first dirt at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Parrot tailing removal project in Butte, June 2018.
Nora Saks

On Thursday morning, close to a hundred people gathered at an old ball field across from Butte’s Civic Center and circled around haul trucks and excavators fit for Paul Bunyan, if he was a miner, and not a lumberjack.

Both the crowd and the heavy machinery were there for the groundbreaking ceremony on the Parrot tailings removal project.

Office of the governor, budget and program planning.
William Marcus

Following the collapse of the state budget last year, lawmakers are considering changing how the state plans out its budgeting process. However, a proposal from the state budget director on the topic doesn't seem to be receiving support from Republican finance leaders.

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