HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana's budget picture continues to improve beyond the original expectations of the state Legislature.

Budget staffers now predict there will be an extra $168 million in state coffers compared to what was first estimated for the two-year budget that began in July.

The state is seeing increased revenues because individuals and corporations are earning more than originally anticipated and paying more taxes. The state also is seeing increased revenue from oil and gas production.

The extra money means that lawmakers could go into session next year starting with a surplus exceeding $400 million.

That has left advocates for schools, state employees and others grumbling that the Republican-led legislature unnecessarily constrained spending. Legislative leaders counter that economic uncertainty warranted a cautious approach.