Havre Daily News - News you can use

By Tim Leeds 

Warburton thinks GOP, gov. can cut deal


A Havre lawmaker said Wednesday that the Republican leadership in the Legislature is confident it can negotiate a deal with the governor and avoid having to come back for a special session to set the state budget.

"Leadership is interested in sitting down with the governor and hammering something out that's mutually agreeable, " Rep. Wendy Warburton, a majority whip in the 2011 House, said Wednesday. "Our house leadership is really feeling that we aren't that far apart from the governor, and so we're optimistic. "

The discussion began when Rep. Kris Hansen, R-Havre, answered Ruben McKinney's question during a legislative video conference in Havre about a plan to bank days to avoid a special session if the budget is vetoed.

"We don't have time, " she said. "That was the plan, originally, but … there's not enough days. "

She said the legislative leadership believes there may still be two or three days remaining in the session once the governor acts on the budget.

"So we'll be here till the end waiting for that, " she said.

Hansen said the governor's budget was fairly lean, and the problem the Republicans had were with how he funded the spending he proposed.

"Those are the big battles, " she said. "The actual dollar numbers haven't been the big sticking points so far, at least as I understand it. "

Warburton praised the work that has been done so far in coming up with a budget, particularly in filling spots where money from the federal stimulus act was used in 2009.

The Appropriations Committee was able to come up with a budget and make up for those one-time funds "and didn't set up the next administration for a big black hole like our people had to deal with. …

"It was a pretty tough year, and I think we're going to come out of it pretty positively, " she added.

Warburton said the prediction is that the budget will be 6 percent to 7 percent smaller than the budget for the current biennium.

"That's a pretty big accomplishment, to not grow government, " she said. "Normally, it's just bigger and bigger and bigger all the time. "


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