Governor Steve Bullock released his final budget proposal for the 2023 biennium on Monday at a Helena press conference.

“In Montana, we leave for the incoming administration and legislature a budget that does not need to raise taxes or reduce or eliminate services,” said Bullock. “We also leave a balanced budget with a full set of tools including a budget stabilization fund and a wildfire suppression fund with capacity to cover the costs of four average fire seasons that are about one and a half times the record expenses of the catastrophic 2017 fire season.”

Bullock addressed the various fund balances going into the 2023 biennium.

“The budget that I propose today leaves a $251 million general fund in the end balance in fiscal year 2023,” he said. “This includes transferring $75 million of existing dollars from the budget stabilization reserve into the general fund while still leaving nearly 40 million in that reserve fund. Together, we established the budget stabilization reserve fund to serve as a rainy day fund for the exact circumstances we find ourselves in now with unanticipated consequences from outside forces.”

Bullock said his budget will not require the legislature to reduce services to taxpayers.
“With an ending fund balance of $251 million with nearly 40 million in the budget stabilization reserve, and with an $85 million fire fund, this is a budget that does not necessitate any cuts to government programs and services relied on by Montanans.”

Bullock also addressed funding for public schools in his budget.

“For K-12 education, I'm proposing inflationary adjustment and based aid that adds $72 million over the biennium,” he said “This will ensure that the record investments in education made during my time in office will continue and will ensure that we continue to build a strong foundation for our students, teachers and parents.”

Additionally, the budget includes modest increases for mental health services at the Department of Corrections, suicide prevention funding, and restoration of Indian Country economic development and language preservation programs. The budget also fully funds Medicaid expansion.