- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A legislative panel is recommending a $23 million cut in Montana’s higher education budget over the next two years.

Thursday’s vote by the Joint Subcommittee on Education is the first step in finalizing the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education’s 2018-2019 budget. The House Appropriations Committee will incorporate the work of various subcommittees into a draft of the overall budget bill.

OCHE deputy commissioner Tyler Trevor says if the cuts stand, it could mean a 20 percent tuition hike to make up the difference. The Independent Record reports (https://bit.ly/2kDHCeM ) that would cost in-state college students about $1,000 extra a year.

The Republican-led Legislature is trying to fix a budget shortfall by cutting spending across state government. Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock has proposed more modest cuts, combined with tax increase and one-time fund transfers.

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Information from: Independent Record, https://www.helenair.com

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