Governor Gianforte Celebrates Progress of Historic Tax Package

Governor Greg Gianforte HELENA, Mont. – In a press conference today at the State Capitol, Governor Greg Gianforte celebrated the progress of the historic tax relief package and other critical elements of his Budget for Montana Families in the Montana Legislature, while emphasizing the work that remains to deliver on Montanans’ priorities.

“Thanks to the hard work of our office, including the budget office, and legislators, we now have a historic tax relief package – providing Montanans with the largest tax cut in state history – within the first half of the session,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I look forward to signing these bills to send taxpayer money back to hardworking Montana taxpayers.”

In his Budget for Montana Families, Gov. Gianforte proposed the largest tax cut in state history. The legislature voted this week to move forward with six proposals for immediate tax rebates and permanent, long-term relief. The legislature also cleared the governor’s measures to repair state roads and bridges as well as to pay off the state’s general obligation debt, making Montana debt-free in ’23.

First, the six-bill tax relief package includes more than $500 million in permanent income tax relief for Montanans at every income level. Sponsored by Sen. Becky Beard, R-Elliston, SB 121 lowers the income tax rate most Montanans pay from 6.75 to 5.9%, and more than triples the earned income tax credit to benefit lower-income, working Montanans.

“The historic tax cuts we proposed will not only help hardworking families and small business owners keep more of what they earn, but they will also help create more good-paying jobs, grow our economy, and help more Montanans achieve the American dream,” the governor said.

Second, Gov. Gianforte touted historic property tax relief, with more than $280 million in property tax rebates for Montana homeowners for their primary residence. Sponsored by Rep. Tom Welch, R-Dillon, HB 222 provides a $500 property tax rebate in 2023 and 2024. In his Budget for Montana Families, the governor proposed a $1,000 property tax rebate in 2023 and 2024, which was in the original version of HB 222.

“I want to thank Representative Tom Welch for leading the effort to provide Montana homeowners with meaningful property tax relief,” the governor said.

Third, Gov. Gianforte praised the leadership of Rep. Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton, to further reform Montana’s business equipment tax with HB 212.

“For too long, owning the equipment needed to operate has come with a heavy, unnecessary tax burden,” the governor said. “That’s why we tripled the business equipment tax in 2021, and it’s why we’re raising the business equipment tax exemption to $1 million for every small business in Montana.”

The governor’s reforms to the business equipment tax in 2021 and 2023 will remove more than 5,000 small businesses, family farms, and family ranches from the business equipment tax rolls.

Fourth, the tax package includes SB 124, a measure from Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, to modernize Montana’s corporate tax code to boost job creation and investment.

Fifth, the tax package includes HB 221, a bill from Rep. Welch to simplify Montana’s complex, complicated, unclear capital gains system to help families, homeowners, retirees, farmers, and ranchers.

Finally, the tax package includes HB 192, a bill from Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings, to provide income tax rebates for Montana income taxpayers of up to $1,250.

After returning over $1 billion back to Montana taxpayers, the governor’s budget invests the state’s surplus to repair infrastructure and state facilities, save for emergencies, and pay off all general obligation debt to make Montana debt-free in 2023.

The governor praised legislators for moving forward with two related proposals this week, his SAFER Montana Roads and Bridges Fund and debt-free in ’23 proposal.

Introduced in the governor’s budget and carried in legislation, HB 267, by Rep. Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell, the SAFER Fund invests $100 million to repair Montana’s roads and bridges.

Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad, carried the governor’s proposal, HB 251, to pay off the state’s general obligation debt.

“Montana will be debt-free in ’23, saving Montanans $40 million over the next two years,” the governor continued.

The bills will be sent to enrolling before they arrive to the governor’s desk.

While celebrating the progress of priority bills, the governor urged legislators to act on additional proposals that deliver on Montanans’ priorities.

After legislators on the House Appropriations Committee tabled the governor’s proposed Local Disaster Resiliency Fund on February 15, Gov. Gianforte traveled to Yellowstone County yesterday to hear from local leaders about the urgent need for the fund. Rep. Larry Brewster, R-Billings, sponsors HB 269 which establishes the Local Disaster Resiliency Fund.

“Failing to establish the Local Disaster Resiliency Fund would be a dereliction of duty. Failing to get this done would risk millions upon millions of dollars of damage. I again ask legislators, ‘Is it worth the gamble?’ I don’t think so,” the governor said.

The governor also urged action on his proposed permanent, refundable $1,200 per child tax credit for working families, sponsored by Rep. Kassmier, with HB 268. Legislators on the House Appropriations Committee tabled the measure on February 23.

Historically a conservative idea, the proposed child tax credit is intended to help Montana families with whatever expenses they incur, including the rising cost of child care, which varies among families based on their needs and preferences. Providing relief for parents raising their young children, the child tax credit strengthens families and empowers parents, especially working mothers.

“These legislators are stalling this pro-family, pro-growth tax cut,” the governor said. “For the sake of hardworking Montana families, our friends in the legislature ought to get this bill across the finish line.”

Gov. Gianforte’s press conference may be viewed here.

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