State Appropriations Chair Responds to Governor’s New Budget
Today, November 15, Montana Governor Steve Bullock released his proposed budget for the state for the 2021 biennium. The governor’s budget will form a backdrop to the next legislative session, but the governor has a bit of an uphill battle because both chambers of the Montana Legislature are run by Republicans who often don’t see eye-to-eye with the executive branch when it comes to spending. Montana House Appropriations Chair Nancy Balance explains what she thought of the governor’s budget presentation.
“At a very high level I think his basic goal and the three principles that he laid out would align very nicely with ours,” Ballance said. “The three principles were, first of all, a $300 million reserve to cover the state’s expenses, the second was a structurally sound budget and the third was funding the essential services of the state.”
Though the main pillars of the governor’s budget appear to be favored by republicans too, there are elements where the two parties are likely to clash.
“When you get down into the details he did talk about revenue enhancers and we have slightly different definitions about what revenue enhancers are,” Ballance said. “In my world, 'revenue enhancer' means you brought more business into the state, you brought more people into the state who are paying taxes, that kind of thing, but I think when the Governor says it, that he has the current population paying more in taxes one way or the other.”
Another likely element of likely discord is which infrastructure projects should be focused on in the budget how those projects should be paid for.