Montana Public Radio

state budget

The candidates for Attorney General say changes are needed in Montana’s Department of Justice Motor Vehicle Division to make it more user friendly and efficient.

Montana’s firefighting fund is full for the first time in state history amid what Gov. Steve Bullock is calling strong overall budget reserves.

Bullock said during a press call on Aug. 17 that his office transferred about $46 million to the fire suppression fund on Aug. 15, hitting the statutory cap of more than $101 million.

“A fire fund filled to the brim is an important cushion to have at this time,” Bullock said.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

The state’s budget has healthy reserves to make up for revenue shortfalls amid economic fallout due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to state finance experts.

On Wednesday, Legislative Fiscal Division staff presented a report predicting the state’s reserves can cover projected losses through the next fiscal year, but that the rainy day fund will be weaker by the 2023 biennium.

A recent Montana legislative report says tax revenue from oil and natural gas production is expected to drop more than 28 percent this fiscal year, which will impact state and county budgets.


Montana’s health department distributed between $84 million and $163 million in Medicaid and Child Health Insurance Program benefits to people ineligible for those programs, according to an audit presented to lawmakers June 16. State officials emphatically reject several of the audit’s key findings.

Gov. Bullock resists pressure to cut spending because of the economic fallout of the pandemic. Republican candidates sound familiar themes in their new campaign ads. Montana has a higher number of women running for office this year. And why some Democrats are thinking about voting for a Republican in the primary.

Listen now on Campaign Beat, with Sally Mauk, Rob Saldin and Holly Michels.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock today said the state’s finances are in a “historically strong position” heading further into the COVID-19 pandemic. State officials are still working with incomplete information about the pandemic’s economic impacts.

Estimated FY 2020 Montana budget balances.
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

A letter drafted by the Montana speaker of the House asks Gov. Steve Bullock to consider reducing government spending over concerns about declining state revenue.

The draft will be discussed by the legislative Revenue Interim Committee next week as state leaders continue to crunch the numbers of the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic in Montana.

iStock

As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip, the services provided by Montana’s mental health and addiction clinics are getting even more complicated.

Those who survived the 2017 state budget cuts have hung on by their fingernails ever since. And it may get a lot more difficult.

Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-HD 87.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana state lawmakers say the state government is flush with reserve cash as the COVID-19 pandemic creates economic uncertainty around the world. Analysts with the Montana Legislative Fiscal Division report the state’s level of cash reserves, currently sitting at $464 million, is relatively high compared to most years in the past.

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