Billings Gazette: Budget Deal Brokered
Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Republican leaders at the Legislature struck a deal Friday night on the session’s major spending bill, which they said cuts government spending by 6.5 percent over the next two years but still provides adequate funds for schools, human services and the University System.
Eastern Montana’s Oil and Gas Schools Lose Out
Mike Dennison has this:
As schools face tight budgets elsewhere in the state, policymakers in search of funds have cast their eyes toward the oil-and-gas money – and a school-funding plan that will be voted on this week at the Legislature would take about $11 million of these funds a year and distribute it statewide.
The proposal before the Legislature also would restrict how schools can spend the oil-and-gas money, begin to limit the amount of reserves that school districts can hold, and restrict the reserve accounts’ usage as well.
Plus, another shot at a pay raise for public employees? Marnee Banks looks at the pay plan’s second chance:
Schweitzer says although the state pay plan was not part of the House Bill
2 negotiations, he expects that the House will hear the bill again next week.
Milburn says he expects to see an amendment placed on the pay plan so it would only go into effect if revenues hit a certain dollar figure.
Currently the bill gives state employees a 1% raise in 2012 and a 3% raise in 2013. House Republicans killed the bill earlier in the week stating there wasn’t enough money to fund the increase.
The Governor also went on another veto spree. But, as The Great Falls Tribune’s John Adams notes, the Gov may not be able to offer his amendatory vetoes after all.
Adams has this:
Schweitzer might not get the chance to offer that amendment if Republican leaders decide to hold on to the bill until after the Legislature adjourns.
“(In that case) there isn’t a Legislature in session (to review the amendments),” said Todd Everts, acting chief legal counsel for the Legislative Services Division. “Amendatory vetoes are just suggestions for amendments on his part.”
Nothing in the law requires the Legislature to send bills to Schweitzer’s desk by a certain time once they pass. According to Everts, any bills that passed must be sent to the governor within five days of the Legislature adjourning.