Posted: Aug 8, 2013 5:15 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - Montana Attorney General Tim Fox is asking the federal government to stop budget cuts which are reducing the state's mineral revenues.
The state historically receives about 50% of all federal mineral royalty money that is generated from Montana - and 25% of that then filters down to the counties where the product was extracted.
However, as part of the sequestration cuts, the federal government is reducing those payments to the state - meaning a $2.5 million loss for Montana.
Fox and nine other state attorneys general wrote a letter to the President and the U.S. Department of the Interior asking them to stop the cuts.
The letter states: "The federal government cannot simply seize money that belongs to the states and their people to cover their budget shortfalls. Reducing the federal deficit is a laudable and necessary goal, but it cannot be achieved on the backs of states."
The Montana Association of Counties reports that Big Horn, Fallon, and Rosebud are the three counties being hit the hardest by the cuts.
Big Horn County will lose nearly $240,000 while Fallon and Rosebud counties will each lose around $100,000.