Governor Schweitzer Delivers Final Budget [AUDIO]
Outgoing Governor Brian Schweitzer delivered his final budget in a press meeting on Thursday in which he lambasted the 2012 legislature for bad budgeting skills and said the incoming 2013 legislature would likely be the one of the biggest problems newly elected Governor Steve Bullock would have to face.
The Governor’s speech hit on multiple details including the Governor’s proposed University tuition freeze plan, pay planning for the fire season, public employee pensions and funding for state prisons.
Schweitzer also touched on the hotly debated Medicaid expansion laid out in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “95% of the cost of this for a few years is going to be paid for by the federal government,” said Scwheitzer who advised the state to expand medicaid. “if you don’t believe the affordable care act is going to undergo revisions over the course of the next four or five years, if you don’t think they’re going to readdress the sell out to the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry to make this a more affordable healthcare bill, then your smoking your own bellybutton.”
Despite his optimism for the future, Schweitzer also admitted that “the bill is not sustainable on through 2018,” as it currently exists. Still, Schweitzer said the short term decision of expanding the rolls was a good one. “What I can tell you right now is that the Federal Government is willing to pay all of the costs of the additional 8,000 people who will have coverage in Montana, it’s a good deal for Montana.”
Schweitzer closed by saying he “believes that the state of Montana is in very good hands with the next governor.” He also told reporters that he would take his famous veto branding iron how with him.