Montana House Begins Work on Main Budget

By Beacon Staff

HELENA – A key Montana House panel is starting work on the state’s main spending bill for the next two years, looking to trim the governor’s proposal.

David Ewer is the budget director for Gov. Brian Schweitzer. He told the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he agrees additional cuts are needed to make sure the main budget is balanced.

The House panel has agreed that one main spending bill will be based on anticipated normal state revenues over the next two years. A separate bill is in the works to spend $800 million in federal stimulus money being funneled through the state.

Ewer told lawmakers the stimulus will provide some flexibility in the main bill, as well.

He recommended they pull about $60 million from the stimulus to fund one-time projects identified in the governor’s spending proposal.

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