Republicans blame Bullock for budget crunch

HELENA, Mont. - Montana Republicans gathered their entire legislative caucus to blame Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock for the state's budget crunch and accuse him of lying to voters about government finances during his re-election campaign.

The GOP's top finance leaders also called Bullock's two-year budget proposal a "shell game" with "duct-tape solutions" to make the state financially whole during a news conference Monday.

Bullock's budget director, Dan Villa, dismissed the Republican lawmakers' statements as political theater and said the state's fiscal health remains sound.

Villa says once the grandstanding wanes, the GOP will negotiate with the governor's office.

The budget has been the top focus in the early stages of the Montana legislative session. Monday's news conference was the sharpest attack on Bullock by Republicans, who control both the House and Senate.

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