Montana Governor Greg Gianforte’s legislative liaison Scott Sales appeared on the KGVO Montana Morning News show to share some of the governor’s priorities in the ongoing session in Helena.

Sales, a former legislator with many years of experience, said Governor Gianforte knows what he wants in the state budget, and that’s to save the taxpayers’ money.

“As I look at this budget, it's one of the more conservative budgets by far that we've had,” said Sales. “I think it grows a little less than 1% year over year, and compared to what we've seen out of Democratic governors, it's a really an excellent move in the right direction.”

Sales decried the once bustling Capitol building that is now virtually empty during the legislative session.

“We have some pro life bills that have been on the floor in the House and made it through the process,” he said. “Typically, you'd have 500, 1,000 or more people that would come and attend those types of debates, and the hearings would be packed and the halls would be packed with lobbyists as well as citizens, and this session is completely different. I testified on the bill the other day, and there might have been six people there. Obviously that's by design, that they have social distancing in the rooms, but even out in the halls. It's very, very sad.”

Sales said differing philosophies about the COVID pandemic have Republicans appearing in person, and Democrats largely appearing remotely.

“The Democrats? I'd say maybe about half the democrats are attending the session,” he said. “The rest of them are doing it remotely. The Republicans for the most part are all here. So it's a different type of session. It got off to a slower start, and the bills are making their way through the system more slowly.”

In fact, Sales said the official transmittal date has been moved back die to the complications of the COVID pandemic.

“Most people don't know this, but oftentimes we work Saturdays, and we’re up here six days a week,” he said. “But because of the slow start that we've had, they've been working five days a week, and that's going to push transmittal out about three or four days. It was scheduled originally for the 27th of February, which was a Saturday and now it's pushed out to Wednesday, March 3.”

Sales said its Gianforte’s goal to lower taxes for the average Montanan in this legislative session.

 

LOOK: See the iconic cars that debuted the year you were born