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Montana special legislative session begins

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana lawmakers began a special session to deal with a projected $227 million budget deficit as Republicans and Democrats remained at loggerheads over how to proceed.

Before both Houses met Tuesday, Democrats argued against making painful budget cuts that would hurt vulnerable residents.

Republicans said they were not going to balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers and would look for other sources of revenue or other cuts.

Montana's budget shortfall is due to revenues coming in lower than estimates adopted by the 2017 Legislature as well as a damaging and expensive fire season.

Gov. Steve Bullock has proposed making up for the deficit with a mix of cuts, budget transfers and temporary tax increases.

Republicans sought to expand the scope of the session to consider other ideas.

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