GOP Blames Bullock for State Budget Woes

Jan 9, 2017

House Appropriations Chair Nancy Ballance, R-Hamilton, speaking at a press conference called by House and Senate Republicans to talk about the state of Montana's budget.
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

GOP lawmakers lined up behind their leaders to challenge the Bullock Administration’s budget proposals

Republican legislators blame Democratic Governor Steve Bullock for Montana’s budget woes, saying they’ll fix the state’s ailing finances.

House Majority Leader Ron Ehli says they reject the governor’s plans for new taxes and instead will get spending under control.

“Montanans elected Republicans majorities in both houses,” Ehli says. “We owe it to our communities and our neighbors, we owe it to our children to steer this budget and steer this ship around and go in a different direction from where it is going to now.”

Republicans also attacked Bullock’s re-election campaign last fall and charged he lied about the state of government finances.

State Budget Director Dan Villa responding after the Republican's press conference on the budget. Villa defends the state's finances as "sound."
Credit Jackie Yamanaka

“I think as you all know there was a little bit of a dog and pony show going on in there today,” says Bullock’s Budget Director Dan Villa, who watched the Republican press conference.

He met with reporters afterwards to say the governor has already reduced millions in spending and is proposing an additional $74 million in reductions.

“What I think Montanans need to know is our budget is strong. Our fiscal health is sound and the taking points which may be politically expedient do not reflect what our budget is,” Villa says.

This week the joint House and Senate Appropriations sub-committees will begin work on the agency budgets with their legislative staff and the governor’s budget staff.