MTPR

state budget

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A group tasked by the legislature to protect water quality in the Flathead Valley is in jeopardy after its funding was cut during Montana’s special legislative session in November and its executive director was terminated in February.

On Wednesday the Flathead Basin Commission will meet in Pablo and reassess its future.

Helena Industries, a non-profit which provides services for hundreds of people in with disabilities is closing, and plans to file for bankruptcy in the wake of state budget cuts to Medicaid programs.

Helena Industries provides job training, work opportunities and case management services for people in Helena, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, and Anaconda.

The Montana Capitol in Helena.
Mike Albans

Governor Steve Bullock has rejected a budget bailout offer from the state’s only private prison in exchange for a revised and extended contract to house Montana’s inmates.

Paula Buckley swaps out signs at the former Sinopah House in Kalispell, Friday, March 30, 2018. The therapeutic girls’ group home is being turned into a home for adults with developmental disabilities.
Nicky Ouellet

Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Sinopah House will be converted to a group home for adults with developmental disabilities. Fox Creek will serve adults with mental illness.

The only group home in the Flathead Valley that offered therapy specifically tailored to abused and traumatized girls shut its doors last Friday, the latest casualty of state-level budget cuts.

Eric Whitney

The number of people being held in institutions due to mental disorders in Missoula County has spiked by more than 30-percent in the wake of statewide budget cuts for social services.

Montana Capitol in Helena.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

A committee of legislative finance leaders got good news on the state budget Monday. After a derailment of state finances leading to a special session last November, the latest budget report from the Legislative Fiscal Division indicates indicates that state finances are improving.

However, there’s nothing the legislative committee can do to reverse the budget cuts made this winter.

Ongoing budget cuts mean the State of Montana has ended a contract that paid a big health insurance company $6 million a year to manage Medicaid recipients. That’s more than twice as much as it allocates to the state health department for similar work.

FY 2017 Montana General Fund Revenue by source
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

The latest legislative analysis says Montana's state budget could be in the black by the end of 2018.

The monthly state revenue estimate issued today says Montana could end up $13 million ahead of what was forecast in last year's regular legislative session budget bill.

Sarah Corbally is an attorney in Helena and previously served as head of Montana’s child and family services division. She’s also on the board of Florence Crittenton.
Corin Cates-Carney

One of the three homes in Montana run by nonprofit organizations that help young moms and their kids stay out of the state’s foster care system closed last week. It was in Billings.

Budget cuts imposed by the state Legislature last year mean the state health department is eliminating more than $1.5 million in funding* for these kinds of organizations, sometimes referred to as "second chance homes."

Jennifer Munger holds a sign protesting state health deparment cuts in Helena, March 1, 2018. Munger says she's recently sober and wants other people with substance abuse issues to be able to get the same treatment she had.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Access to mental health services and addiction treatment, something that has never been great in Montana, could see a significant funding reduction next month as the state health department reduces its substance disorder services.

"If I wouldn’t have had that I probably wouldn’t be alive today. They saved my life," Jennifer Munger says.

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