How much will Montana lawmakers be able to spend when it comes to the nearly $3 billion in federal COVID dollars that are coming to the state? How will they spend it? How can they spend it? Can they just give it back to the Montana taxpayers in the form of a rebate check?

We talked about all of those questions with Kyle Schmauch, a spokesman for Montana's legislative majority in the state senate. He joined us from the state capitol in Helena Wednesday morning.

Here's the full audio:

As it just so happened, I was chatting with Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) about the latest news on the COVID vaccine later that same morning, so I figured I would throw the question his direction as well. He said he does intend to use the money on one-time projects, and not to grow long term government programs. He also outlined some of his other priorities.

We also got the governor's take on the fact that the Democrat's federal COVID bill included a ban on states from cutting their taxes. Governor Gianforte says the state will still move forward on tax relief, but he sees those tax cuts as separate from the discussions of the COVID bill, since the personal income and business equipment tax cuts aren't tied to the COVID relief funds. That tax relief was already planned and in the works prior to the federal COVID relief coming to the state.

Full audio with Gov. Gianforte:

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