Did Any Montana Democrats Support the Tax Relief for Montanans?
I had a few listeners ask the question- did any of the Democrats in the Montana Legislature support any of the tax cuts or tax relief that just got signed into law by Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT)?
The answer: Yes. Not many. But some, and only on some bills.
I threw the question to a reliable source. Kyle Schmauch is a graduate of the University of Montana School of Journalism, and serves as an aide to Montana's State Senate Majority leadership.
Here's the breakdown he provided on the major tax relief bills:
HB 192 Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings
0 Senate Dems, 2 House Dems voted in favor
Provides one-time-only income tax rebates to Montanans from the state’s budget surplus. Individuals will receive up to a $1,250 tax rebate, joint filers will receive up to $2,500. The exact rebate received by an individual depends on the amount of taxes they paid in the first place, and no one will receive more in rebates than they paid in income taxes.
Total financial relief: about $480 million (OTO).
HB 222 Rep. Tom Welch, R-Dillon
0 Senate Dems, 1 House Dem voted in favor
Provides tax rebates to property taxes paid on principal residences from the state’s budget surplus. Each household that is a primary residence will receive two $500 rebates over the next two years, for a total of $1,000 per household in one-time-only tax rebates. HB 222 does not provide any rebates to second homes, commercial properties like short-term or long-term rentals, or out-of-state property owners.
Total financial relief: about $284 million (OTO).
HB 251 Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad
0 Senate Dems, a few House Dems voted in favor
The “Debt Free in 2023” bill. Pays off the state’s general obligation debt using one-time-only money from the budget surplus. Saves Montanans from paying interest on state debt for years into the future.
Total financial relief: About $25 million annually (ongoing) in interest payments no longer needing to be paid.
SB 121 Sen. Becky Beard, R-Elliston
0 Democrats in either chamber voted in favor
Reduces Montana’s top income tax rate from 6.5% to 5.9% and increases the earned-income tax credit from 3% to 10%, benefiting lower-wage earners. Provides ongoing tax relief to most Montanans.
Total financial relief: about $170 million annually (ongoing).
HB 212 Rep. Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton
0 Dems in ether chamber voted in favor
Raises the exemption from Montana’s businesses equipment tax from the first $300,000 of equipment to the first $1 million of equipment. Removes essentially all Montana small businesses, including farmers and ranchers, from paying the business equipment tax.
Total financial relief: about $9 million annually (ongoing).
HB 221 Rep. Tom Welch, R-Dillon
0 Dems in either chamber voted in favor
Revises income tax rates for net long-term capital gains, replacing the current tax deduction for capital gains with a reduced tax rate.
Total financial relief: $16+ million annually (ongoing).
SB 124 Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson
0 Senate Dems, most House Dems voted in favor
Revises corporate income taxes to a “single sales factor.” Rather than corporations paying taxes based on sales, physical presence in the state, and employees in the state, companies would only pay taxes based on sales they make in Montana. This has the effect of making out-of-state corporations like Amazon pay a little more in taxes while reducing taxes for Montana-based businesses like Applied Materials in Kalispell. SB 124 will encourage businesses to expand or relocate to Montana, creating more good-paying jobs.
Total financial relief: Increases tax revenue from out-of-state corporations by $5 million in 2025 and over $15 million per year after that, helping pay for tax relief to Montanans and Montana-based businesses.
HB 267 Rep. Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell
0 Senate Dems, ALL House Dems voted in favor
Creates the “Securing Access to Federal Expenditures to Repair (SAFER) Montana Roads and Bridges Account. The SAFER Roads and Bridges bill puts $100 million of Montana’s budget surplus into an account to leverage around $600-700 million in federal funds to repair Montana road and bridge infrastructure.
Total financial relief: Saves Montanans hundreds of millions in taxes for years to come on infrastructure repairs. Allows the state to not raise gas taxes for the foreseeable future.
Click here for more of our 2023 coverage of the Montana Legislature.