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GOP Budget Fiscally Irresponsible, Hurts Montana Small Businesses, Children, Communities

GOP Budget Fiscally Irresponsible, Hurts Montana Small Businesses, Children, Communities
Billings Gazette Slams GOP Budget as Reckless

 
(Helena, MT) – Montana Republicans continue to push a fiscally irresponsible budget that slashes investment in Montana’s small businesses, children's health care, and education. 
 
Yesterday, Montana’s largest newspaper, the Billings Gazette, 
slammed the House Republican budget as reckless and said, "there is no way Governor Bullock – or any governor for that matter – should sign a budget bill like this."
 
In contrast, Governor Steve Bullock put forth a balanced budget that did not raise taxes and maintained a $300 million rainy day fund – all while investing in our children’s future and ensuring that basic services are efficiently delivered. Under Governor Bullock's disciplined leadership, Montana has been 
ranked the most fiscally prudent state in the country and Montana’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.4 percent.
 
While Republican legislators have supported tax giveaways to multi-national corporations, their budget hurts Montana small businesses and manufacturing:


    • The Republican budget slashes the Economic Development program that provides tax incentives and low-interest financing to help Montana’s small businesses. [HB 2Amendment A006, House Vote, 3/18/15;Business.mt.gov, accessed 3/19/15]
       
    • Republican legislators voted against restoring funding for the micro-business program that provides loans, training and technical assistance to small Montana businesses with fewer than 10 employees. [HB 2Amendment A028, House Vote, 3/18/15Businessresources.mt.gov, accessed 3/19/15]
       
    • Republicans stood against the Montana Manufacturing Extension Center which provides growth services to small and mid-sized manufacturers.  [HB 2Amendment A013, House Vote, 3/18/15; MissoulaPartnership.com, accessed 3/19/15]

Outside of decimating job growth, the Republican budget further went after Montana’s children and students, slashing the children's health care program, cutting grants and scholarships that relieve student debt burdens, and rejecting the Governor’s “Early Edge” initiative.

    • The Republican budget cut $20 million from the CHIP program which covers poor uninsured children. [Billings Gazette, 3/22/15]
       
    • Republican legislators twice voted to slash higher education grants which provide aid to Montana students. [HB 2Amendment E001; House Vote,  3/19/15;Amendment E002; House Vote, 3/19/15]
       
    • The Republican budget got rid of the Governor’s “Best and the Brightest” Scholarship program which provides Montana residents with greater access to Montana colleges. [HB 2Amendment E003; House Vote, 3/19/15; MSU.edu, accessed 3/20/15]
       
    • Montana Republicans rejected investment in Governor Steve Bullock’s  voluntary “Early Edge” program which would allow school districts to opt-in and provide half-day pre-kindergarten to 4 year olds throughout the state. [HB 2Amendment E008, House Vote, 3/19/15Earlyedge.mt.gov, accessed 3/20/15]

"Budgets are about priorities, and it's clear that House Republicans are putting politics ahead of Montana by slashing economic development programs, failing to fully fund child protective services and failing to invest in Montana’s future. It's time for Speaker Knudsen and House GOP leadership to stop playing political games and start putting the people of Montana first," said Bryan Watt, spokesperson for the Montana Democratic Party. 

 

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