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Bullock lays out budget plan in first State of State Address

By Will Wadley, KECI Weekend Anchor, wwadley@keci.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 10:51:20 PM MST
MISSOULA, Mont. -

With the National Anthem, and a standing ovation, Steve Bullock made his way to the front of the house floor at the state capital in Helena for the first time as governor of Montana.

"It is an honor and pleasure to be the public servant entrusted with delivering this address," said Bullock.

Before a Republican controlled house and senate, Governor Bullock began his first State of the State Address with an appeal to both sides to focus on Montana’s youth.

"Montana voters sent us here to make all our children's and grandchildren's futures brighter, more hopeful and more prosperous here in the state of Montana," said Bullock.

The governor then addressed education and presented his J.O.B.S bill.

"It stands for jobs and opportunities building schools," said Bullock.

Bullock said it will create 100 new early childhood programs, and 25,000 new jobs by investing in schools.

“If we are serious about training tomorrow’s workers, our commitment must begin not when our kids first enter college or the workforce, but rather when they first enter the world,” said Bullock.”

The governor also proposed re-designating income from the state lottery to fund education.

Bullock presented a healthcare proposal he calls Access Health Montana. Part of the plan includes expanding Medicaid, which he says will create 5,000 jobs.

"Take the longer view, and lead the way by focusing on the health and welfare of our neighbors. Let's work together to put Montanans first and use their hard-earned tax dollars wisely."

Bullock also proposed returning some of the state’s budget surplus back to Montana homeowners.

"Giving $100 million back in the form of a tax rebate will return $400 to everyone with their primary residence in the state."

Bullock concluded his speech by returning the focus to Montana’s children.

“At the end of any one of our terms - yours or mine - we will be measured by the progress we have made.  And the true measure will be taken not by the politicians or pundits, but by our children.  Let us not forget that it is to them we are most accountable.”