Democrats kill $41 million in rural water projects

Helena – On the final day of the 65th legislative session, Democrats in the House of Representative voted to kill a bill that would have provided $41 million in loans to local communities for water projects.

House Bill 8 would have provided $41 million in loans from the coal tax trust fund to water, sewer and irrigation projects across Montana. The program has been approved by the Legislature for the past 20 years.

House Minority leader Jenny Eck, D-Helena, said Democrats were unwilling to pass loans from the coal tax trust fund because Republicans were unwilling to support putting the state $80 million in debt through bonding in a separate infrastructure bill.

Eck and Senate Minority Leader Jon Sesso, R-Butte vowed earlier in the session to kill any infrastructure proposal that didn’t spend enough money or that didn’t fund their pet projects, such as a $25-million remodel of Romney Hall at Montana State University or $10 million for a veterans’ home in Butte.

By: Big Sky Headlines Staff