Frontier Institute Statement on State Budget Negotiations
Lawmakers can encourage a strong economic recovery by delivering a state budget that protects taxpayers from uncontrolled government spending
As the legislature continues to advance HB 2, the main budget bill, the Frontier Institute issued the following statement:
“Lawmakers can encourage a strong economic recovery by delivering a state budget that protects taxpayers from uncontrolled government spending,” said Kendall Cotton, President and CEO. “By placing firm limits on spending growth, lawmakers can keep the budget within the bounds of what taxpayers can afford and take a substantial step toward enabling permanent tax relief.”
The Frontier Institute has recommended lawmakers adopt a Conservative Montana Budget, a budget model which sets a maximum threshold of spending growth for the next biennium at 4.4%, based on the growth of Montana’s economy. This model is applied only to state appropriations and excludes federal funding.
Currently, the Legislative Fiscal Division’s budget comparison marks the biennial increase for state spending at 3.7%.
Frontier has noted that Montana’s state budget has often grown considerably faster than the economy over the last 16 years. An analysis from the Institute shows state spending grew 138% over the last 16 years, compared to 54% growth of population plus inflation.
“Montana leaders owe it to taxpayers to debate the necessity for every dime of state spending and should eliminate waste whenever possible,” said Cotton. “If the Legislature can at least agree to stay under the limit of a Conservative Montana Budget as they make final appropriations, they will pass a budget that works to correct years of uncontrolled spending growth.”
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