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Because of Gov. Steve Bullock's current budget cuts, Montanans with true disabilities, who utilize state services and service providers, are being devastated.

He recently decided to end negotiations with the prison operator in Shelby, walking away from $32 million dollars of money that Montana will lose if we can’t afford to purchase the prison. This money is real. $17 million is available to DPHHS now and should be used to fund frontline healthcare service providers and their disabled clients.

Why does he force them to suffer needlessly, withholding the services that were committed to them? Why do you value a building over the wellbeing of needy Montanans? He has $17 million dollars available to pay front-line service providers and afford assistance to recipients who would benefit. Yet, he turns his back on Montana’s most needy, for what? To buy a building?

His mismanagement of the $500 million ending fund balance you inherited in 2012, in addition to his 32 percent growth in state spending since taking office, are the chief culprits behind the financial bind in which we find ourselves, leading to his needless cuts to critical services. Yes, revenues dipped in 2016, but they are rebounding nicely in the current fiscal year.

A true servant leader prioritizes the needs of the people of Montana. It’s not too late. Accept the $32 million dollars that Montanans stand to lose and leverage it with tens of millions of federal matching dollars to reduce the suffering of many in want of services.

Montana is counting on Bullock to make the right decision and restore services to the most disadvantaged and vulnerable among us, rather than forcing them to endure more hardships.

Are people more important to you than your political ambitions? I pray they are.

Rep. Brad Tschida

  House District 97

Missoula

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