Montana legislative committee advances $10.3B state budget

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By: Amy Beth Hanson

Montana’s House Appropriations Committee voted Monday to advance a nearly $10.3 billion budget to fund state services over the next two years…

In one amendment, the state Auditor’s Office eliminated seven vacant positions at a savings of just over $1 million, but asked for permission to spend an additional $350,000 to continue efforts to investigate and challenge the high cost of prescription drugs.

All told, Auditor Matt Rosendale proposed a $650,000 cut in funding for his office.

Rosendale’s cuts make the “vacancy savings” permanent unless a future state auditor asks lawmakers to restore the funding, said spokesman Kyle Schmauch.

“This is a model example of fiscal responsibility in government and allowing the legislative branch to exercise proper oversight of executive agency spending,” Schmauch said in a statement.

Read more from the Associated Press