Governor Proposes – Republicans Oppose In State of The State Address
Tuesday night, Governor Steve Bullock delivered the 2017 State of the State address before a joint session of the legislature. He began by touting the progress in Montana’s economy over his first term in office, then took the Republican-led legislature to task for the cuts they propose in the state budget.
"It doesn't make sense to me that you propose to cut workers from our Child and Family Services division," Bullock said. "The people on the front lines in helping kids in harms way, or that you propose to slash funding to community nursing homes that care for those depending on all of our help."
Regarding the contentious infrastructure bill, Bullock told the legislators he didn't care who gets the credit, as long as they get the job done.
"I, like most Montanans care about results," he said. "Please join me in undertaking the hard work of getting something to my desk that we can all agree upon, because when we fail to invest in infrastructure, we fail Montana."
Bullock closed his remarks by asking the legislature to cooperate and work together on finding solutions to the state’s budget problems.
In his response, Speaker of the House, Republican Austin Knudsen, looked back on the governor’s reelection campaign, when he said progress could have been made to address what he warned was a coming budget shortfall.
"During this past summer, Governor Bullock had the authority to start reducing the state budget, saving the state millions, which would have helped to reduce and offset this budget crisis we face, but the Governor was campaigning and he did nothing," Knudsen said.
Knudsen then recalled the recent controversy over highway department funding.
"When Governor Bullock pulled the funding and cancelled dozens of highway infrastructure jobs and projects and killed thousands of construction jobs, the Republican caucus led by immediately introducing a bill finding alternative funding for these projects," he said. "In response, the Governor magically came up with ten million dollars on the day of our bill hearing. That's not leadership."
Knudsen closed by calling for Governor Bullock to put Montanans first, not state government.