Memos reveal possible budget cuts coming in Montana

Dozens of memos submitted to Gov. Steve Bullock’s office last week provide a preliminary look at which services might be cut, reduced or delayed as state officials plan for revenues to come in lower than projected.

Budget Director Dan Villa announced Wednesday that the governor would use his authority to reduce statewide spending from the general fund over the next two years by up to 10 percent, or $236 million. That’s on top of about $70 million in cuts finalized earlier this summer under a different provision of state law as part of a contingency plan negotiated with legislators.

Each state agency has until Friday to submit recommendations to Villa about where cuts should be made. They will then be reviewed by the governor and legislators before final decisions are announced late this month.

“It is a long process and it is, for state government, very transparent,” Villa said. “Any reductions that agencies propose will be public record when we receive them.”

Earlier this month, agencies under the governor’s control submitted proposals on how to reduce their spending by 5 percent. Those proposals are collected by the budget director every year in the usual budgeting process as a precaution. Legislators familiar with the…

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