Republicans in the Montana House pushed through the legislative session’s major budget bill Thursday, saying they had funded “essential services” and kept the budget in balance without a tax increase.  KTVQ.com reports the house voted 59-41 in favor, setting up a final vote today before the $10 billion, two-year budget measure heads to the Senate, where it’s expected to see some changes.

 

All Democrats, however, voted against the bill, saying it falls well short of financing needed programs, particularly education and health care.  Governor Steve Bullock’s budget director Dan Villa said money was prioritized in the Department of Public Health and Human Services, but said the administration didn’t want to just raise rates when overall tax revenue was falling behind expectations.  Democrats also suggested that some money went unspent because health providers don’t always want to take elderly clients.