Montana’s Revenue Forecast Shrinks

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – The faltering economy is hitting the state’s coffers — and the projected surplus is shrinking.

Revenue analysts will tell lawmakers next week that tax collections could drop by about $40 million for the upcoming two-year budget period.

And the projected surplus for the budget period that ends in mid-2011 has dropped by about $500 million — down to about $287 million.

The Legislative Fiscal Division report was released Friday, a day before Gov. Brian Schweitzer releases his budget plans for the next two years. The division says the decrease in revenue could hit government programs.

Schweitzer has so far been tightlipped about his plans.

New Senate President Bob Story, a Republican, says that he hopes the governor proposes a way to appropriately deal with the drop in revenue.

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