Helena – A recently released state audit that included the Montana Department of Transportation shows that MDT gave out raises to 82% of employees while postponing construction projects and asking the legislature to raise the state gas tax.
The audited conducted by the Legislative Audit Division revealed that MDT handed out raises of $2.4 Million in fiscal year 2015 alone. The audit also showed that the department failed to follow state policy guidelines while doling out the raises.
In December, MDT announced it was postponing more than $144 Million in highway construction projects because of budget shortfalls.
Governor Steve Bullock and MDT director Mike Tooley have expressed support for raising the state gas tax in order to cover the shortfall. A coalition of special interest groups led by the Montana Contractors Association is also supporting raising the gas tax.
The audit along with a memo from Tooley seem to indicate that the Bullock administration handed out $2.4 Million in raises to MDT employees while knowing that the state budget was in perilous condition and are now asking for the legislature to raise the state gas tax in order to fill the hole.
During his recent re-election campaign, Governor Bullock made no mention of his willingness to support an increase in the state’s gas tax.
At 27 cents per gallon for gasoline and 27.5 cents per gallon for diesel Montana already has one of the highest gas tax rates in the country.
By: Big Sky Headlines staff
Find the full audit report at – http://leg.mt.gov/content/Publications/Audit/Report/15P-05.pdf