Montana lawmakers advanced a preliminary state budget last week that outlines $12 billion in spending over the next two years. It's expected to land on the House floor for debate in the coming days.
If nothing changes, the state will spend about $400 million more in the next biennium than it did over the last two years. That’s a 3.4% increase, according to the Legislative Fiscal Division. But the budget has only cleared one hurdle of many before it becomes law.