The Latest: Sales: Montana is too dependent on federal funds - InfoNews

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The Latest: Sales: Montana is too dependent on federal funds

January 31, 2019 - 7:35 PM

HELENA, Mont. - The Latest on the Montana State of the State address (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

In response to Gov. Steve Bullock's State of the State address, Senate President Scott Sales said that while the state's economy is doing well, Republicans are concerned about Montana's reliance on federal funding.

Sales says federal money makes up 44 per cent of the state's budget, and at some point the federal government will realize it can't continue running trillion dollar deficits. He adds that with fewer federal dollars, Montana could end up in deep economic trouble.

Sales says Montana should develop its natural resources in an environmentally safe way to create jobs and increase tax revenue.

He also says Republicans are committed to crafting a budget that's within the state's current means and rejected Bullock's proposal for $160 million in tax increases.

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7:45 p.m.

Steve Bullock sought to cement his legacy as governor in his final State of the State speech, touting improvements in Montana's economy, educational opportunities and health care coverage since he took office in 2013.

Bullock also made a pitch Thursday for his budget proposal, increased investments in education and continuing the state's Medicaid expansion program.

The Democrat also asked lawmakers to pass a major infrastructure bill, saying his proposal this session addresses past concerns.

He said he would insist on a $300 million reserve in the two-year budget, saying the $200 million favoured by the Republican majority leaves too little room for the unexpected.

He also pressed them to pass tax increases that target tourists and people who use tobacco and alcohol.

Bullock said he is optimistic both parties can work together.

News from © The Associated Press, 2019
The Associated Press

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