Montana Public Radio

state budget

Sen. Ryan Osmundson, R-Buffalo, presents House Bill 2 -- the state budget bill -- to members of the Montana Senate April 7, 2021. Osmundson, who chairs the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, is carrying HB 2 in the Senate.
Austin Amestoy / UM Legislative News Service

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 "beast bill" heads to the Senate. The attorney general sues over restrictions on the use of federal COVID relief money. Montana could lose millions in federal education money because of a bill banning transgender students from participating in women's sports. A bill to make it easier for Native Americans to vote is killed. And a progressive blogger ends his long run as an influential gadfly.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

The Montana House Tuesday endorsed a state spending plan for $2 billion in federal coronavirus aid.

Montana lawmakers have adopted a more optimistic estimate of how much money the state will bring in over the next two years. The change will help guide ongoing work to craft a balanced state budget.

Capitol Talk: Beasts, Budgets And Voting Rights

Mar 26, 2021

Gov. Greg Gianforte makes headlines after trapping a Yellowstone wolf — while bills targeting wolves head toward passage. Republican lawmakers want to eliminate same-day voter registration. And the so-called "beast bill" — directing how billions in federal COVID relief money will be spent — crawls forward.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Republicans in the Montana House of Representatives endorsed a state budget Monday that outlines $12 billion in spending over two years. The Republican majority advanced the state spending package with every Democrat voting against it. 

Montana lawmakers Friday arrived at a starting point to decide how to spend roughly $3 billion in federal coronavirus relief.

After working all week, budget subcommittees on Friday delivered stimulus spending recommendations to be folded into one massive bill nicknamed “the beast” by state lawmakers.

Buffalo Republican Ryan Osmundson, chair of the Senate Finance and Claims Committee, compared appropriating relief dollars to crafting a brand-new state budget on the fly.

Capitol Talk: Budget Puzzle, Lawsuits And The Limits Of Public Input

Mar 19, 2021

The many moving parts of the state budget have pushed lawmakers to extend the session — but Montana's Legislature isn't the state's only busy branch.

Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen has filed yet another lawsuit against the Biden Administration. At the same time, prominent Montanans are suing Gov. Greg Gianforte over his effort to directly appoint judges.

And, as a racist social media post by a Republican lawmaker resurfaces, Montanans are learning that overwhelming public opposition to legislation does not guarantee a bill's defeat.

Listen now on Capitol Talk with Sally Mauk, Holly Michels and Rob Saldin.

Individual income tax revenue forecast for the 2023 biennium as of March 19, 2021. Income tax is the state's largest revenue source.
Legislative Fiscal Division

Forecasters say Montana’s state revenues are getting a major boost from federal stimulus, and the health of state coffers is easier to estimate now than in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Legislative fiscal analysts gave that update to lawmakers Friday

Montana Capitol bulding in Helena, MT.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

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.

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