HELENA – Some Montana lawmakers want to make it more difficult to transfer cash out of the state’s fire suppression fund after $30 million went to shore up the state budget in 2017, just before Montana experienced its most expensive fire season ever.
That bill and a measure to restrict tax increases would require a two-third vote of the Legislature, instead of the simple majorities now needed to transfer money from the fund or raise taxes.
Democrats argue the bills could limit the government’s ability to respond to the next financial crisis.
House Speaker Greg Hertz says the tax bill will require the state to live within its means. He says the fire fund bill is an effort to prevent future lawmakers from raiding the fund to prop up sagging revenues.