Montana Public Radio

Tom Livers

Legislative Auditor Angus Maciver answers lawmakers questions Jan. 13, 2020. The Legislative Audit Division and the Governor's Office are in an ongoing dispute over an unpublished report looking at Montana's  health department and Medicaid system.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s Legislative Auditor is pushing back against the Governor’s Office’s public criticism of an unpublished report on the state health department. The administration says the details are holding up $80 million in infrastructure projects.

Lawmakers were briefed on the brewing controversy during the kickoff of Legislative Week.

Montana State Capitol.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Gov. Steve Bullock’s administration says an $80 million infrastructure package is facing an “unacceptable” delay after passage during last year’s legislative session. The bipartisan spending deal on public works is hung up after an audit questioning state finances and Medicaid spending.

A helicopter drops water on the Bannack Fire, July 25, 2019.
Inciweb

Montana’s firefighting fund is in good shape moving into the end of the year, according to the state budget director.

Tom Livers, director of the Governor’s Office of Budget and Program Planning told the Legislative Finance Committee Tuesday that this and last years’ mild fire seasons have swelled the state’s firefighting savings account.

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.

Montana Capitol building.
Nick Mott / MTPR

A new plan to cap state government debt when paying for public works projects is on a fast track in the state Legislature. It’s a potential breakthrough in the Legislature’s long fight over borrowing money to pay for large scale infrastructure.

The so-called Infrastructure Development and Economic Accountability Act passed out of House Appropriations unanimously, and without debate, hours after it receiving its first hearing Thursday.

Hearing room at the Montana Capitol.
William Marcus / Montana Public Radio

Anglers, boaters, farmers and conservationists are all backing a new proposal at the state Legislature to spend $6.5 million fighting aquatic invasive species, but they disagree over who should foot the bill. The measure had its first hearing Monday.

Gov. Steve Bullock.
Corin Cates-Carney / MTPR

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is taking one more shot at passing an infrastructure package. 

“This $294 million investment is accomplished through a responsible mix of cash and bonds,” says Tom Livers, the governor's budget director.

Montana's Gross State Product growth by industry sector. Nov. 19, 2018
Montana Legislative Fiscal Division

Montana’s Gross State Product, wages and personal income are expected to grow between 3 and 4 percent each of the next few years, according to reports given to lawmakers Monday. That growth rate is slightly below the state’s long-term trend since 2001.

Those reports from the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Division drove a projection for how much tax revenue Montana is expected to bring in as lawmakers start building the state’s next two-year budget.


Governor Steve Bullock has appointed a former liaison in the Obama White House to a state cabinet position leading the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. 

Pages