Corin Cates-Carney

Corin Cates-Carney is the Flathead Valley reporter for MTPR.

Corin has worked for NPR, and is a UM Journalism School Graduate.

Update: This is an extended version of the story we posted Thursday, Oct. 12, the original text is at the bottom of this post.

Along a rocky shoreline at Canyon Ferry Reservoir Thursday, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of a dog sniffing, using its nose to search for invasive mussels threatening to overrun Montana waters.

Hilo, a three year old black lab, isn’t finding any evidence of the adult quagga or zebra mussels he’s been sent to search for along the shoreline.

Montana may need to change the way it applies taxes to collect revenue amid a changing state economy, according to state elected officials searching for solutions during the ongoing budget crisis.

A special legislative session may be the only way for Montana to fix its budget, wrecked by an over projection of incoming revenue and an expensive fire season, according to conservative leaders in the House and Senate.

Some Republican legislative leaders are now saying Montana will need a special session to deal with the state’s current budget crisis, and that they may be open to targeted, temporary tax increases. 

Hamilton Representative Nancy Ballance joined several other Republicans on the Legislative Finance Committee today in saying that the state needs to pay for this summer’s firefighting costs.

“So I think the likelihood of a special session is high," Balance said, "But from our perspective that would be restricted to fire costs.”

Updated 7:00 pm

Some Republican legislative leaders are now saying Montana will need a special session to deal with the state’s current budget crisis, and that they may bring debate of targeted, temporary tax increases.

Hamilton Representative Nancy Ballance joined several other Republicans on the Legislative Finance Committee yesterday in saying that the state needs to pay for this summer’s firefighting costs.

State lawmakers started taking up the challenge of Montana's $282 million budget shortfall in the first of two days of hearings in Helena today.

Tough decisions about state budget cuts are on the table before lawmakers in Helena Wednesday and Thursday. They’re facing a $282 million revenue shortfall.

A state agency facing some of the steepest budget cuts is Corrections, which stands to lose about $40 million.

The minimum wage in Montana will increase by 15 cents per hour starting next year, according to the state labor department’s most recent cost-of -living analysis.

An independent analysis of Montana’s budget deficit was released today. A legislative committee is set to review proposed cuts to the state’s budget next week.

A proposal to remove grizzly bears living in the area around Glacier National Park from endangered species protections could come out as early as next year, according to U.S. Fish Wildlife and Service officials testifying today before state lawmakers.

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