MONTANA – Governor Steve Bullock today sent the first bill he received back to the Montana Legislature and criticized them for voting to increase their own budgets while the rest of the state looks for ways to trim spending and find efficiencies. Bullock proposed amendments to HB 1, known as the Feed Bill, to reduce the increased spending the Legislature seeks to the same level he proposed for the rest of state government in his Executive Budget.
“Today, I am disappointed that I am compelled to offer an amendatory veto of the very first bill the legislature has sent me – a bill to give themselves more money,” said Governor Bullock. “It is irresponsible and disrespectful to the people of Montana that they would prioritize increasing their own budget over addressing the real needs of Montanans.”
Governor Bullock called on the Legislature to make fiscally responsible decisions and play by the same rules they expect for the rest of government. The feed bill would use tax payer dollars for things like legislative travel and IT costs – an increase in spending for the legislative branch by 14%.
“When Montana families are faced with challenging financial times, they don’t have the luxury of increasing their spending,” Bullock continued. “As a Governor faced with tough financial decisions, I cannot in good faith mindlessly accept a bill that allows one branch of government a free pass while everyone else pulls their weight. Montanans deserve better.”
While Governor Bullock has saved taxpayers over $100 million dollars from state spending during his first term and proposed a budget built on a responsible mix of spending cuts and revenue enhancers, the Legislature has rejected the balanced budget and has proposed additional cuts to critical services across Montana.