Advocacy Issues 2017-18

On 3-6-18, the Legislative Fiscal Division released FY 2018 General Fund Revenue Update #3 3-6-18, showing "year-to-date median collections compared to historical collection patterns indicate total general fund collections of $2,439 million, about $4 million more than the HJ 2 estimate for FY 2018. Using the cash concept model, current collections suggest a potential revenue overage of about $13 million."  This is better news with cautions given ..."Although year-to-date estimates through February are suggesting final revenue collections similar to HJ 2, this may overstate revenue due to timing of tax payments. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, the federal deduction for state and local taxes is limited to $10,000 starting in 2018. Taxpayers may have made individual income and property tax payments earlier in the fiscal year to maximize federal deductibility."


OPI released the FY 2019 Peliminary Budget Data Sheets on 2-26-18.  2018-19 General Fund Budget Overview Worksheets for the overview. 

  • The Preliminary Budget Data Sheets are posted at the following link: CLICK HERE
  • The General Fund Budget Excel Spreadsheet is posted at the following link: CLICK HERE.  (Note: Please download this current version of the spreadsheet to your computer (right-click on the link and choose "Save Target As" to save it to your desktop.) Previous versions of the spreadsheet are no longer applicable for preliminary budget purposes.



On 1-18-18, the Montana Department of Revenue revised the estimated  impact of federal tax reform on the state general fund.  The estimate is $19.9 million for the 2019 biennium, down from the $46 million previous estimate.   The LETTER and Gazette Article explain the details.

On 1-10-18, the Legislative Fiscal Division released FY 2018 General Fund Revenue Update 1-10-18 interpreted in THIS Independent Record Article.


2017 Special Session

Click 2017 Legislative Special Session (November 13-16, 2017) to review the Special Session.

On November 6, 2017 at 2:00 Governor Steve Bullock announced the call for a Special Session of the Legislature to begin at noon on Tuesday, November 14, with hearings beginning on November 13.  For background read Special Session Call Governor Remarks 11-6-17 and Proclamation - Call for 2017 Special Session.  Click IR Article - Governor calls lawmakers back for special session, releases list of cuts to state agencies 11-6-17 to read about the announcement.  

The MT-PEC partners met with the Governor on November 3,  2017 to understand the state-wide issues and the need for the special session.  The MT-PEC partners have adopted a unified position statement, MT-PEC Partners Special Session Statement 11-6-17, to assist our collective members in understanding the issues and to assist in the effort that will be necessary during the special legislative session.

The proposed budget reductions impacting the state are found in Balancing Montana's Budget Legislative Proposals Special Session 2017 11-6-17 with the details of all of the proposed cuts outlined in 2017 Special Session Proposed Cuts Equals 76 million 11-6-17.

SAM intends to keep the 2017 Special Session webpage updated throughout the 2017 Special Session and to assist our SAM members with their understanding of the issues and the advocacy necessary to maintain quality public schools during the shortfall in state revenue.


SAM Advocacy Priorities, Positions, and Resolutions 

The SAM membership, at the SAM Business Meeting on October 19, 2017, approved the SAM Advocacy package including Priorities, Positions and Resolutions for advocacy purposes through the 2017-18 school year. Please review in the link below:

SAM Advocacy Priorities Positions Resolutions Approved 10-19-17

ESSA Implementation


State Revenue Shortfalls Impact on Schools

Invoking MCA 17-7-140 Cuts

Legislative Finance Committee meeting agenda and meeting materials for consideration of revenue and cuts under MCA 17-7-140 on October 4-5, 2017
     *Click OPI Materials from LFC Meeting 10-4-17 to see what was presented to the Legislative Finance Committee.
     *Independent Record 10/5/17 Article reporting on the actions taken by the Legislative Finance Committee.

Webpage ( listing the 10% Reduction Plan by Agency

Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee LETTER to Director Villa following the meeting on 9-15-17

OPI Proposed 10% Budget Cuts Under MCA 17-7-140 Email on 9-8-17

Governor Letter Invoking MCA 17-7-140 Cuts 8-30-17
MT-PEC Memo to State Superintendent RE MCA 17-7-140 Cuts 9-1-17
Email to Superintendent Arntzen on 9-6-17 RE MT-PEC Recommendation Modification

SB 261 Information

SB 261 OPI Email - Level 4 Triggers Announced 7-25-17
MT-PEC Issue Spotlight 2017 - Guidance for SB 261 Reductions 7-14-17
SB 261 OPI Email - Potenial Reductions to School Funding in FY 2018 7-13-17

2017 Legislative Session Budget and Taxation Information

SAM Email to SAM List Serves RE 2017 Legislative Session MT-PEC Analysis 5-3-17
SAM 2017 Legislative Session Summary


Technology and Broadband Access Initiatives

Net Neutrality

On 1-22-18, Governor Bullock established an Executive Order that addresses the Montana's stance on Net Neutrality for state procurement contracts - Media Release.  On 1-24-18, The National published this Article about Montana's stance on Net Neutrality.

Broadband for Montana Schools Program - January 2018 Update
The Broadband for Montana Schools Program enables schools to upgrade their broadband, boosting access to high-speed Internet and providing students with more digital learning tools. Free resources from partners in the program are available to all school district leaders at no cost to support schools in upgrading their network this year.
Resources include:

  • $2M in State Match Funding for schools to upgrade their Internet infrastructure and work with an E-rate consultants on their application to the FCC E-rate Program
Please contact [email protected] with any questions.


ERATE Broadband Infrastructure sessions starting in October! - Cancelled
Montana School Broadband Project Year 3 Letter from Governor 9-17-17