This morning the House Appropriations sub-committee voted 4-3 in favor of reducing the budget for the Department of Health and Human Services over the next biennium. This is known as the starting point motion. The reduction proposed for this budget was just 1.9% lower than the funds allocated in 2017 (see table).
State General Fund State Special Federal Total
2017 Actual Base $ 528,179,615 $ 169,446,809 $ 1,766,874,969 $ 2,464,501,393
Though this cut was less than two percent, and I support the small reduction in overall expenditure, I voted ‘no’ on the motion. I was the only Republican to do so. Though we have a budget shortfall, we also must preserve the programs that assist the most vulnerable in our population: children, disabled, elderly. I felt that the proposed motion was much too draconian to one program as Senior and Long-Term care was asked to absorb the lion’s share of the cuts; approximately 90% of the total.
The ultimate goal for Republicans is to ensure that money allocated for health and human services gets on the ground and in the community where it can do the most good. The money needs to help real people. As of today, the Dept. of Health and Human Services has not proposed any cuts to the government bureaucracy or the layers of administration between appropriated funds and individuals in the community. I very much look forward to eliminating cost in our government bureaucracy (over the next several weeks of the session) and ensuring that the needs of our vulnerable Montanans are met. I'm committed to building a stable healthcare system that Montanans can count on for the long-term.