skip to main content
skip to newscasts

Friday, June 14, 2024

Public News Service Logo
facebook instagram linkedin reddit youtube twitter
view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court throws out a Trump-era ban on gun bump stocks; a look at how social media algorithms and Shakespearian villains have in common; and states receive federal funding to clean up legacy mine pollution.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

The Supreme Court for now protects access to abortion drug mifepristone, while Senate Republicans block a bill protecting access to in-vitro fertilization. Wisconsin's Supreme Court bans mobile voting sites, and colleges deal with funding cuts as legislatures target diversity programs.

view newscast page
play newscast audioPlay

As summer nears, America's newest and largest international dark sky sanctuary beckons, rural job growth is up, but full recovery remains elusive, rural Americans living in prison towns support a transition, while birth control is more readily available in rural areas.

Cuts to State Budget Affect Most Vulnerable Montanans

play audio
Play

Friday, August 11, 2017   

HELENA, Mont. – The full scope of pain from impending budget cuts is coming into view for public employees and the Montanans they serve.

Lawmakers turned down a number of bills to increase the state's revenue, and now the state faces a shortfall that will lead to $70 million in cuts.

Jill Cohenour is a chemist at the Montana State Environmental Lab with the Department of Public Health and Human Services. The department will have to cut at least $14 million over the next two years. Cohenour says that means cuts to staff who serve vulnerable Montanans, such as children facing abuse and services for the elderly.

"If it's longer and longer time frames and higher and higher caseloads, I'd be afraid that something might fall through the cracks and it won't be through any fault of anyone," she says. "It's just going to be the nature of the situation and not having enough people to do these important services in every community across the state."

Cuts will affect many departments across Montana. Over the next year, more than $5 million will be cut from services that provide care for the elderly and people with disabilities in their homes, 7$ million will be cut from hospitals that serve Medicaid patients, higher education funding will lose $15 million, and more.

The Montana Historical Society will see cuts to its small staff as well.

Diane Hall, graphic designer and videographer for the historical society, says it affects 24 of the 60-person staff, with nine people being laid off. She says the society won't have enough staff to be as open to the public as it is now.

"The people of Montana love their heritage and they love the historical society, but the budget cuts are really going to affect our ability to serve the public and give them access to the collections that actually belong to the people of Montana," Hall laments.

Cohenour is frustrated state lawmakers didn't do more to stop this budget crisis. Legislators said no to a tobacco-tax increase that would have added $135 million to state coffers, and three bills that would have created new tax rates on the wealthiest one-percent of households - adding as much as $61 million - along with other bills.

"To take all of the burden of the lack of money out on the citizens of the state of Montana and on the public employees who are committed to performing those services really is very shortsighted on the part of those legislators that didn't support some of the revenue enhancers," she explains.


get more stories like this via email

more stories
The wells providing water on Santee Tribal lands had manganese levels more than 50 times greater than what is considered safe for adults. Excessively high manganese can cause problems with memory, attention and motor skills. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Members of the Nebraska Santee Sioux Tribe hope a solution to their five-year water ordeal may be on the way. Their tap water has been unusable for …


play sound

Hurricane season is here, and conservationists are shining a light on the role salt marshes play in protecting coastal North Carolina communities…

Social Issues

play sound

This weekend, Father's Day will be tough for children with a dad in jail or prison. More than 200,000 kids in Michigan have had an incarcerated …


Social Issues

play sound

Local election administrators have new guidance from Wisconsin's highest court on alternative early voting sites. A political expert says the timing …

Between 2017 and 2022, Minnesota saw a more than 30% increase in farm acres planted with cover crops. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

play sound

When Minnesota farmers watch their crops grow this summer, some will monitor land that has better soil health. It's because of a fairly popular …

Environment

play sound

West Virginia will receive $140 million to clean up legacy pollution in regions decimated by decades of coal mining. The money is part of $725 …

Environment

play sound

Close to 200 events are planned now through Sunday at California state parks for the third annual State Parks Week. The events advance Gov. Gavin …

 

Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021