Gov. Bullock calls special legislative session

HELENA — Gov. Steve Bullock has convened a special session of the Montana Legislature to address a $227 million shortfall in the state budget.
Bullock announced on Monday that the special session will begin at noon Tuesday, Nov. 14 at the state Capitol, although hearings will begin on Monday.
Bullock said legislators must address the $227 million revenue shortfall through an equal combination of cuts, revenue increases, and transfers and other legislation based on realistic revenue projections.
“I have put forth a set of reasonable and thoughtful proposals to balance Montana’s budget for consideration by the Legislature,” said Bullock. “It’s time Montana leaders fulfill our responsibilities to the people we represent and balance our budget in a way that makes sense for Montana taxpayers, workers, and families.”
He said he expects the special session to be “quick and productive,” and he still hopes “a deal will be reached prior to the Legislature’s arrival back in Helena next week.”
Bullock has proposed to the Montana Legislature to address the $227 million revenue shortfall through an equal combination of cuts, revenue increases, and transfers and other legislation based on realistic revenue projections.
“I look forward to resolving our budget situation by the end of the month and then refocusing on growing Montana’s economy, creating more good-paying jobs, and investing in the health of our communities,” Bullock continued.
A revenue shortfall “created by overly optimistic revenue projections by the Legislature” combined with “the most expensive fire season in state history” led to the shortfall, Bullock said.
Bullock has proposed cutting spending in several areas, including suspending the state’s employer contribution to the state health plan and the judges’ retirement system, and increasing revenue by auctioning liquor licenses and temporarily increasing taxes for rental cars, hotels and campgrounds.
Montana Republican Party Chairwoman Debra Lamm said the budget shortfall can be traced back to the governor’s actions.
“The buck stops with Gov. Bullock: He mismanaged the state budget and spent beyond our means,” Lamm said. “We need to read more

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