Montana Transfers More Than $46M to State Fire Fund

Governor announced state's firefighting coffer is fully funded

By Associated Press

HELENA — Montana Gov. Steve Bullock announced on Monday that the state’s firefighting coffer is fully funded.

More than $46 million was transferred from the state’s general fund to the fire suppression fund on Saturday, putting it at its statutory maximum of $101.5 million.

The money was transferred to the fund after state agencies finished the 2020 Fiscal Year under budget. The excess funds are required by law to be transferred to the fire suppression fund.

The ten-year average fire suppression cost is $21.1 million per year, meaning the fund now contains enough money to cover nearly five average years of state fire suppression costs.

Bullock, who is running for U.S. Senate, also said the state’s reserves put it in a comfortable position to contend with fiscal challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.

The state’s rainy day fund remains funded to the statutory maximum at $114.2 million. Bullock said that he doesn’t predict the state will make use of the fund in the coming fiscal year, thanks to a positive balance in the state’s general fund.

“Montana is in an enviable financial position compared to many other states that are currently weathering budget challenges,” Bullock said.

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