Posted: Jan 4, 2013 7:52 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
Governor-elect Steve Bullock released his version of the state's budget on Friday
The budget serves as a starting point for the Montana Legislature, whose only statutory job is to draft and pass a balanced budget.
Bullock said, "Just like budgets we come up with around the kitchen table, a state's budget is truly a reflection of the values and priorities of people, and the people of Montana."
Bullock's budget contains $4.3 billion in spending; that's about $2 million more than outgoing governor Brian Schweitzer proposed.
It also leaves $300 million in the bank.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, Bullock plans on expanding Medicaid to include more Montanans.
He is also proposing to invest $60 million to fix the state's pension system, and $76 million in compensation for state workers.
He also proposed a $400 property tax rebate for all homeowners in Montana.
Bullock says that he wants to invest in a bonding bill which will pay for infrastructure development at Montana colleges and universities, and says making sure that tuition is frozen for college students is a top priority.
Bullock said, "We invest in measures that encourage job creation, starting first with our educational system. If we want a world-class workforce, we need to have a world-class educational system."
Republicans control both chambers of the Montana Legislature so in order to get his budget passed, Bullock needs their approval.
Speaker of the House Mark Blasdel (R-Kalispell) says they just got the budget and haven't had much time to review it yet: "Obviously each subcommittee, as we break into those in appropriations, are going to be able to weigh each proposal on its merit and need."
Bullock says he will be sitting down with Republican leaders to discuss priorities as the 2013 session begins.
Bullock will be sworn into office on Monday; the Legislature will convene right after the ceremony.