Posted: Jan 10, 2013 8:35 PM by MTN News
HELENA - Montana lawmakers are beginning to debate how much money the state Legislature will have to spend for the next two years.
The House and Senate Taxation committees met Thursday to start the discussion.
Historically, the revenue estimate has been a political football with each party trying to use it to its advantage.
During the 2011 session, lawmakers could not agree on a revenue estimate.
In the 2013 session, State Senator Bruce Tutvedt (R - Kalispell) is carrying a bill that would change the rules to mandate that lawmakers pass a revenue estimate out of the state Senate.
"Any rumors that this revenue estimate isn't coming out of Senate Tax are just wrong," said Tutvedt.
"We are going to honor our commitment and send it," Tutvedt testified.
"We all know in the past that there has been ways where it's held up in the House, and sat in House Tax or went back to the Senate and the Senate never gave it back...so this has been a football and there is plenty of blame, but let's just fix it," Tutvedt said.
The Legislative Fiscal Division and the Governor's Budget Office have both drafted separate revenue estimates.
According to reports dated November 2012, the Legislature's Fiscal Division office predicts the state will have $6.157 billion dollars in revenue for fiscal years 2013 through 2015.
The Governor's Budget Office forecasts the revenue for that same period will come in a bit lower at $6.154 billion.
Those numbers will be updated over the next week.
The Senate Taxation committee is expected to vote on the revenue estimate bill next Friday.