Special session report
A few weeks ago, Gov. Bullock called the legislature into special session to address a projected budget shortfall and find funds to cover the high fire fighting costs this year.
This special session started on Nov. 13 and finished early the morning of the 16, and I am proud of the work we did to address the budget shortfall while not raising taxes.
When a budget shortfall is projected, state law allows the governor to make cuts to balance the budget. However, Gov. Bullock refused to make cuts on his own and instead called a special session to attempt to coerce us into raising taxes. The governor proposed covering approximately $227 million with a combination of tax increases and fund transfers to supplement his cuts.
The legislature immediately went to work identifying the best solutions to the issues we faced. First, we expanded the scope of the session to allow us to discuss more options than the governor presented. Some of my very capable colleagues with budget expertise were able to identify significantly more money in fund transfers than the governor had proposed. These transfers lessened the need for additional cuts.
We also crafted a plan for the governor’s cuts to be backfilled based on how much revenue comes in. Finally, we found additional revenues and cost savings that did not include tax increases.
While I was not in favor of every bill that passed, and favored some alternatives that did not pass, I am very proud of the way the Republican majority stayed united and focused on our goals, and I believe we presented a good solution for Montana.
Thank you for all of your support during the long days and nights of the special session. I am honored to represent you in the legislature.
If anyone has any question or comments, the best way to contact me is by email at Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov, or by phone at (406) 690-1933.
Forrest J. Mandeville is a Columbus resident and HD 57 representative