Montana budget surplus $268M above estimates

Published On: Sep 14 2012 10:46:33 AM PDT
HELENA, Mont. -

Montana's preliminary general fund balance at the end of June was $457.1 million, about $268 million more than the 2011 Legislature had projected when it developed its two-year budget.

Legislative fiscal analyst Terry Johnson told the Revenue and Transportation Interim Committee on Thursday that state general fund revenue collections totaled $1.88 billion during Fiscal Year 2012. Lee Newspapers of Montana reported individual income taxes brought in $889 million, which was $89.5 million more than lawmakers had estimated. Property taxes brought in $236 million.

Lawmakers had anticipated a general fund balance of $188.9 million in mid-2012 and cut state spending to meet those estimates under the state constitution's requirement for a balanced budget.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Democrats had argued the estimates did not take into account the improving economy.