Montana Public Radio

state budget

House Bill 300, introduced in the 2019 Montana Legislative session, called for a 2.5 percent sales tax and the elimination of certain property taxes.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

A 2.5 percent sales tax and the elimination of certain property taxes is under consideration by the Montana Legislature.

It’s a proposal that could swing the source of billions of dollars in state revenue; create new regional commissions to recommend how public dollars are spent; and shift the burden of taxes across Montana.

The House chamber at the Montana Legislature during the 2019 session.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

The Montana House narrowly approved a bill Monday to make it harder for state lawmakers to raise taxes.

The Republican majority advanced House Bill 148 despite a handful of their party joining Democrats in opposition.

An woman holds a sign during a picket of Western Montana Mental Health Center in Missoula, Dec. 18, 2017, following state budget cuts to mental health services.
Olga Kreimer

Montana lawmakers met today to start setting the budget for programs that help people with mental illness or drug and alcohol use disorders.

State health department officials say in recent years the administration has increased Montanans’ access to mental health care with the help of Medicaid expansion.

On June 24, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.
(PD)

Businesses that care for the elderly, poor and disabled say they’re struggling to make ends meet on what the state pays for housing and assisted living services.

Much of that funding is via Medicaid, and on Thursday, assisted living businesses and workers asked the Montana Legislature to increase payments for day-to-day services for seniors and people with disabilities.

Senate Majority Leader Fred Thomas (R) - Stevensville
Mike Albans / Montana Public Radio

In first weeks of the legislative session Gov. Steve Bullock and the Republican Majority are trading barbs over how the state should pay for big public projects, including university system improvements and maintenance in towns and counties.

On Wednesday GOP leaders revealed plans for a new system for how Montana borrows money for public works projects.

Taxes To Again Dominate Budget Talks At The Montana Legislature

Jan 17, 2019
Rep. Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, sits in the House of Representatives on Jan. 10, 2019. Ballance is the chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
Shaylee Rager / UM Legislative News Service

HELENA — Taxes are shaping up to be one of the big debates of the 2019 Montana Legislature.

The budget estimates from the governor’s office and the Legislative Fiscal Division are roughly the same -- about $10 billion over two years to fund a variety of state agencies and programs. The budget includes everything from education to the state’s share of Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Greg Hertz (R) - HD12. Hertz is the speaker of the House at the Montana Legislature.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

The 66th meeting of the Montana Legislature gavels in at noon Monday setting the 90-day timer for major state policy debates. An early conflict will be over a proposal to change to the rules of the House in way  that could reset the political balance-of-power in the Capitol.

Sign saying "Welcome to Blackfeet Indian Country."
Will Marlow (CC-BY-NC-2)

The U.S. Census Bureau is starting to hire workers to complete the 2020 enumeration that will determine  billions of dollars in funding to the state and whether Montana receives a second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

However, new data gathering methods may make it harder for some people living on Native American reservations and some rural areas to be counted.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

Budget woes, bonding, bike taxes and bathroom bills. What were Montana lawmakers actually up to in the last legislative session(s)? Get a refresher, and take a look ahead as the 2019 Legislature approaches. Think of it as a 2017 season recap, but for the Montana Legislature.

Montana's 2018 infrastructure report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
American Society of Civil Engineers

There’s been some improvement in Montana’s roads, bridges and other public works projects since 2014, but they’re still generally in mediocre shape. That’s according to a new report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers. It gave Montana a ‘C’ grade Thursday in its latest analysis of public infrastructure here.

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