Key GOP lawmaker says Bullock has options to avoid human-service cuts

HELENA – A leading Republican lawmaker Friday said the Bullock administration must share the blame for looming budget cuts to human services in Montana – and that the governor could help defray the cuts if he chooses.

Sen. Llew Jones of Conrad, an architect of the November budget deal that closed a $227 million shortfall in the state budget, told MTN News that Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, has options available if he wants to reduce cuts to health-care programs that serve the disabled and the poor.

The state’s revenue picture appears to have improved in the past two months and the governor could obtain an additional $32 million by extending a private-prison contract, Jones said in an interview.