Bullock’s Mismanagement of State Finances Grows

Governor Bullock is struggling to properly manage Montana’s tax dollars. It has been reported that the Bullock administration made overpayments to SNAP recipients and “the error rate in Montana’s food stamp program rose last year to more than twice the national average.”

The federal government is now going to have to spend over $100,000 to fix the Bullock administration’s errors.

Bullock responded to his administration’s errors by calling it, “unacceptable.”  Where have we heard this before?

Several weeks ago, it was reported the Bullock administration mismanaged our bookkeeping and almost cost the state millions when auditors found 125 significant accounting errors.

Bullock’s response then? He called it … “unacceptable.”

Montanans are still waiting for Governor Bullock to take responsibility for his administration’s incompetence. In fact, no one has been held accountable. No one has been fired. The Bullock administration is all too content providing one excuse after another as they work to downplay their accounting debacle:

  • Bullock’s budget director called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”
  • The state accountant who oversaw the department responsible for these significant accounting errors was just transferred to work in another department.

Zinke’s Forest Reforms Pass House

The U.S. House of Representatives today passed the Resilient National Forests Act of 2015 (H.R. 2647) which includes Congressman Zinke’s forest reforms. Zinke’s reforms will revitalize Montana’s timber industry, help end frivolous job-killing lawsuits, and prevent wildfires.

The bill passed the House with bipartisan support, 262-167.

Zinke’s forest reforms will provide much needed economic support to local Montana communities that have been completely devastated by frivolous job-killing lawsuits from fringe environmental groups. This legislation will help grow our economy and create and protect thousands of good-paying Montana jobs supported by our timber industry.

These fringe environmental groups have created a false choice for Montanans: Either conserve Montana and stop timber harvests, or ruin our state. The reality is much different though: We can both responsibly develop our natural resources and protect and strengthen the health of our forests.

ICYMI: Montana Newspapers Blast Bullock Admin for Mismanaging Tax Dollars

The Billings Gazette and Montana Standard Editorial Boards blasted the Bullock administration for mismanaging our hard-earned tax dollars. Auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, which led to the first adverse report ever issued on the state’s finances.

Bullock Administration Mismanaged Tax Dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.


Billings Gazette: Gazette opinion: Take responsibility for terrible state budget

The State of Montana’s finances aren’t as rosy as we once imagined, and the same people who may have contributed to the mess may be the ones ultimately charged with cleaning it up.”

This wasn’t just a single accidental oversight. Instead, the problems are deep — 125 errors and lack of internal controls. Sadly, those controls, had they been in place, according to the audit division, could have caught these problems earlier. In other words, there weren’t even controls in place to catch problems.”

For his part, Gov. Steve Bullock called it “completely unacceptable.” Wouldn’t it make more sense to do a little deeper digging on how the problems happened? Granted, that is hard when folks like Villa are a part of the governor’s own administration. A deeper investigation might be politically uncomfortable.

The question remains: How members of his staff are being held responsible for such shoddy results?

The buck should stop at Bullock. Then again, with our accounting practices, how would we know where the buck stops or even if it’s there?


Montana Standard: Audit of state administration disturbing, unacceptable

The audit conducted by Hunthausen’s staff revealed some 125 errors in accounting for the state government’s finances. And while state budget director Dan Villa characterized some of the errors as simple clerical issues, the overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

Villa told the Associated Press, “It’s not misappropriating funds or hiding money.” We would respectfully point out that, given the nature of the errors in oversight, it is all but impossible to know if Villa is correct in that assertion.”

Bottom line: The state’s finances are being accounted for in an unbelievably slipshod manner. Montanans have a right to expect better. And for Hogan and Villa, inescapably the buck stops with them.”

The status quo is unacceptable, and Gov. Bullock must act decisively to clean this mess up.

Bullock Administration’s Incompetence Nearly Cost Us, Concerns Remain …

While Moody’s announced that our AA+ bond rating is unlikely to be affected by the Bullock administration’s incompetence and mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, they still expressed concern over the weaknesses in the state’s ability to properly account for this money.

Last week, it was reported that auditors found 125 significant accounting errors by the Bullock administration, with many of these errors individually amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The auditor’s findings mark the first time an adverse report has ever been issued on Montana’s finances.  And, these disturbing findings threatened Montana’s fiscal health and could have cost Montana taxpayers millions of dollars.

The Montana Standard Editorial Board wrote, “The overall picture should be disturbing to every Montana taxpayer.”

After nearly a week of silence, Governor Bullock finally commented on this accounting debacle, calling it “unacceptable.”

Yet, the Bullock administration refuses to take responsibility for their high-level of incompetence:

  • Bullock’s budget director Dan Villa called these 125 significant accounting errors a “fluke” and “simple.”

Here are a few examples of the Bullock administration’s mismanagement of our tax dollars:

  • Misstated Montana’s infrastructure liabilities by $1 billion.
  • Misrepresented natural resource grants and contributions by $445 million.