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Republicans reduce state budget starting point

HELENA(AP) — Republican-led legislative budget panels are axing the standard inflationary increases normally used as a starting point for spending bills.

The joint appropriations committees were instead voting Friday to start all agency budgets at 2012 levels. Critics argue the move doesn't ensure there will be enough money to pay for current programs authorized by law.

House Speaker Mark Blasdel of Somers says it will be better for lawmakers to determine how much is needed rather than relying on automatic predictions.

Blasdel says the automatic inflationary adjustments are worth $335 million...


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