MT Legislature, Governor Expected to Clash on Ending Fund Balance
In his proposed budget for the next two years, Governor Steve Bullock is asking for about $300 million to be kept in an ending fund balance, but last legislative session, republicans created a new system for reserving funds. According to House Finance Chair Nancy Ballance the Governor is unlikely to get his request.
"What we did last session was we put in place this budget stabilization reserve fund, which has rules around how you can use that money, how the Governor can use that to balance out cash flow across the years and then also in terms of how it has to be paid back and when it has to be paid back,” Ballance said. “In our minds, that is a much better rainy day fund than just having a pile of cash that you can use whenever you want.”
Ballance says some money will be kept in an ending fund balance, but not all.
“Our stated goal last session, and we haven’t changed it this session, is $200 million in ending fund balance and $100 in budget stabilization reserve fund,” Ballance said. “The $200 million gives enough that you can manage the operations of the state without having to go in to a borrowing situation as quickly.”
The precise numbers of how much money goes where will be hashed out in the next legislative session, but Balance says the budget stabilization reserve fund is here to stay.