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Republican Senate Leaders Devote Only One Day to Important Budget Talks

Senate GOP pushes through budget in a bid to hide true agenda

Helena, MT -- Following months of partisan rhetoric about a range of legislative issues from spear hunting to the Code of the West, Republican leaders in the state Senate are devoting only one day of discussion to the state budget.

Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick released this statement in response to Republican attempts to push through the budget without adequate public discussion:

"If the Republican leadership was willing to have an open and transparent debate about the budget, they would have taken more than one day. That's an irresponsible approach to big decisions about the future of Montana."

"There are winners and losers in this budget, and Republicans leaders have chosen to side with big corporations at the expense of education and health care for Montanans. Maybe that's why they don't want to have this debate in the light of day. Montana deserves responsible solutions to the budget debate, and it's time for the majority to join in transparent, bi-partisan discussions about the future of our state."

Here are some of the impacts of the cuts Republicans are trying to hide in their irresponsible bid to push through the budget:

Children: "Over $130 million of the cuts directly impact Montana’s children." [Montana Budget and Policy Center, accessed 3/22/11]

Public Safety: Prison officials are concerned that a lack of funding for corrections will "will trickle down and stop at the squad car, where police will have to decide which criminals pose a big enough threat to earn a spot in lockup." Funds for rehabilitation services have also so far been cut from the corrections budget. [Bozeman Chronicle, 3/28/11]

Home Heating Assistance: Millions have been slashed from a home heating assistance program that has helped 28,000 Montana families meet the cost of heating their homes. [Helena IR, 3/26/11]

Colleges and Universities: Tens of millions in cuts to higher education could lead to tuition increases for Montana students. [Helena IR, 3/26/11]