Ironing Out the State Budget - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Ironing Out the State Budget

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HELENA -

 

Thursday a free conference committee met to hammer out a balanced state budget that both the house and senate can agree on.

Six legislators gathered today to discuss a number of amendments proposed on House Bill 2.

In their meeting this morning, the free conference committee decided to add a state employee pay plan to the budget.

The pay plan was originally carried in House Bill 13, but as of late that bill has most likely died. Representative Nancy Ballance said they held off on approving HB 13 because they wanted to get a better understanding of how the state would be affected by increasing medical costs.

"We felt very strongly that we needed some cost containment measures before we came back into the next session so we wanted to includes those with this session's legislative intent---so it was very very clear that that's just something that cannot grow," Ballance said.

Ballance said adding the pay plan would affect the budget slightly, but would still keep it within the total they 've been shooting for.

The committee also addressed an overlap in funding for medicaid.

According to Ballance, the budget initially included "original" medicaid funding, but then once the medicaid expansion bill passed, it caused an overlap in funding.

"We've made a real solid effort to work with the sponsor of Senate Bill 405 to really understand how and when and why that overlap exists, and preserve what we can in house bill two without in anyway jeopardizing SB 405," Ballance said.

Since the committee convened this evening, we could expect to see the committee report head to the floor in the House and the Senate tomorrow.

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