Analysts: Surplus $6M higher than projected

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Analysts estimate the state’s general-fund surplus at the end of the two-year budget cycle will be nearly $6 million more than previously projected.

Legislative Fiscal Division officials told lawmakers this week the state is now forecast to have about $353 million left at the end of the 2015 budget period.

Legislative Finance Committee Chairman Llew Jones tells Montana Public Radio (http://bit.ly/1i9u7hk ) the budget is about where it should be. The Conrad Republican says things can change with two-year budget forecasts, and it’s nice that this budget is staying close to projections.

Analysts also say the amount transferred from the general fund to the Public Employees Retirement System is $6.8 million less than expected. That’s because of less-than-expected revenue from the coal severance tax and interest from the coal permanent trust.

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