MTPR

state budget

Montana Senate
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The $10.3 billion state budget is cruising through the Montana Legislature. It passed its first votes in the state Senate today.

Chronic Homelessness by Region in Montana.
Courtesy Missoula Housing Authority

The first ever statewide conference on homelessness is happening in Helena today and tomorrow. More than 75 organizations from across Montana are meeting.

Jim McGrath, with the Missoula Housing Authority presented a graph showing some positive trend data about the number of homeless people here since 2005.

Montana Legislature Senate chamber.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Montana Senate committee voted Thursday to give additional funding to schools and the public defender's office while restoring some money to the state Department of Revenue to better serve taxpayers and collect revenue.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state's utility regulators endorse a bill that appears to weaken the their own regulatory oversight. The cost of Medicaid expansion — and a new revenue estimate — complicate the state budget outlook. The president of the Senate wants to be the top election official. And the mayor of Helena wants to run for governor or Congress, but he's not ready to say if he'll run as a Democrat or Republican.

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

A $10.3 billion state budget cleared an initial vote in the Montana House of Representatives this afternoon, without any support from Democrats.

When state lawmakers walked into the legislative session earlier this year they were in the unusual situation of having watched the last state budget, passed in 2017, collapse.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: State lawmakers are buckling-down on a number of issues, including increased oversight of non-profit schools for troubled teens; what infrastructure projects to support or reject; what to cut or support in the health department; and whether ratepayers should bear the burden of keeping Colstrip's coal plant going.

Learn more now on Capitol Talk.

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

A roughly $10 billion state budget passed out of the Montana House Appropriations Committee Monday afternoon. Lawmakers are pushing forward with a smaller state spending plan than the one offered by Gov. Steve Bullock back in November.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state health department faces permanent job cuts; A sales tax proposal reappears at the Capitol; Sexual harassment allegations among lawmakers lead to a new anti-harassment policy; And with time running short, Gov. Bullock remains coy about his 2020 election plans.

State Budget Director Tom Livers speaks during a House Appropriations hearing on March 7, 2019.  Gov. Steve Bullock's administration opposes some of the Legislature's proposed eliminations in vacant state job positions.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration is objecting to the Legislature’s initial plan to cut funding for around 230 open job positions across Montana government in the next state budget.

The state’s $4.3 billion general fund budget is first up for debate as lawmakers arrive back in Helena for the second half of the 2019 legislative session.

Rep. Nancy Ballance (R) - Hamilton, at the Legislature. Feb. 22, 2019.
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service

Rep. Nancy Ballance, a Republican from Hamilton, has served as a chair of the House Appropriations Committee in Montana’s Legislature since 2015. The committee is tasked with building a balanced budget for the state, which is the only legal requirement of the lawmaking body. Ballance is a former insurance executive, and has dug deep into Montana’s finances.

UM Legislative News Reporter Shaylee Ragar spoke with Ballance last week about the state’s revenue projections, the future of Montana’s economy and about her views of Medicaid expansion, which again is a major debate this session.

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