Special legislative session begins

November 13, 2017 / Comments (0)


Nov. 13, 2017

Governor Bullock has called the Montana Legislature into special session to deal with a serious state budget shortfall.

The November 2017 Special Session convenes Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. Legislators begin committee meetings Monday, November 13.

The MEA-MFT leaders and staff who compose our lobby team are at the state capitol watching carefully, working to protect our members’ interests and protect state jobs and services, along with public education.

What caused the shortfall? Montana is seeing a serious decrease in projected revenue, coupled with the most expensive fire season on record.

Governor Steve Bullock has proposed fixing the $227 million budget shortfall in three equal measures: by making some cuts to some services and programs, by temporarily increasing some revenues, and by making adjustments and transfers within state government.

The proposed $76 million cut in services is a blow, and some jobs will be lost. Without a special session, however, the cuts to services, schools, and the university system would be triply painful.

More background: Montana’s current fiscal crisis has roots in the 2003 legislative session, when the legislature cut tax rates, mostly for the state’s wealthiest.

According to the Montana Budget & Policy Center, that legislation has cost the state about $1 billion since it went into effect in 2005.

MEA-MFT strongly supports restoring the lost revenue. In the long term, that will mean taking a hard look at the state’s tax structure and making sure billionaires and out-of-state corporations pay their fair share.

In the short run, it means the November 2017 special session of the legislature must pass the temporary revenue enhancers proposed by Governor Bullock.
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