Great Falls Tribune - October 11, 2017
A meeting will be held Monday, Oct. 16 in Great Falls regarding what organizers say would be $240 million in possible cuts to human services and people with disabilities in the state of Montana budget. Attendees can offer comment to legislators. The meeting will be 5-7:30 p.m. at Cameron Auditorium at Benefis Health System, 26th St. S. The event is sponsored by The Arc Montana and Parents Let’s Unite for Kids, also known as PLUK.
Montana needs to cut $227 million over the next two years to balance its $10.3 billion budget due to lower than expected revenues and an expensive fire season.
Gov. Steve Bullock requested 10 percent cuts to state departments and is expected to call a special session in which legislators would be called back to Helena to discuss the cuts. The largest cut proposed is $105 million to the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, which makes up about 46 percent of the total proposed reductions. Proposals include the elimination or reduction of optional Medicaid services and reduced Medicaid provider rates. It also calls for reducing or dropping programs that include targeted case management services, hospice service, early education and health improvement programs. The Montana Budget and Policy Center says according to the DPHHS reduction plan, the general fund cuts would bring the loss of $135 million in federal funds, for a total loss of $240 million. Bullock has said he offered a balanced budget to lawmakers that left the state with an ending fund balance of $300 million. The proposal was rejected by the Republican-led Legislature which produced a budget that had inaccurate revenue projections. The Arc advocates for the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2012, the national Arc announced the affiliation of AWARE Inc. in Montana as a state chapter.
MBPC is a nonprofit organization focused on providing credible and timely research and analysis on budget, tax, and economic issues that impact low- and moderate-income Montana families.