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Legislature passes over $1 billion in tax relief

nitial top eight Republican priority bills head to Governor’s desk

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News from Senate Republicans

HELENA — As lawmakers wrap up the first half of the 2023 legislative session, Republicans are touting the final passage of over $1 billion in financial relief to Montanans. 

“We said coming into the legislative session that providing financial relief to Montanans suffering from inflation and the high cost of living was our number one priority,” said Jason Ellsworth, a Hamilton Republican and the President of the Montana Senate. “Before we’ve even hit the halfway point of the legislative session, we’re delivering on that commitment with the largest tax cut in Montana history.” 

“Since the beginning of the session, our caucus has been committed to returning Montana taxpayer dollars,” said Matt Regier, a Kalispell Republican and the Speaker of the House. “We are incredibly proud to fulfill this promise and return Montanans their hard-earned money.”

The “eight—pack” of bills from both House and Senate Republicans includes two bills providing one-time income and property tax rebates to Montanans, two bills providing permanent tax relief to individuals, two bills permanently reducing taxes on Montana businesses, one bill paying off the state’s debt, and one bill investing in road and bridge infrastructure to prevent future tax increases. 

All eight bills have passed every step of the legislative process and are now in the process of being transmitted to the governor for his signature. 

“We’re providing over $700 million of immediate financial relief to Montanans with income and property tax rebates from the state’s budget surplus,” said Sen. Ken Bogner of Miles City, the Senate President Pro Tempore. “On top of that, we’ve secured long-term tax relief to Montana citizens and businesses and are paying off state debt and funding the maintenance and improvements of our roads and bridges.” 

Governor Greg Gianforte has publicly backed the package of legislation and is expected to sign the bills within the next two weeks. 

A brief summary of each bill is provided below. 

HB 192 Rep. Bill Mercer, R-Billings

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. 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

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. Total financial relief: about $284 million (OTO).

HB 251 Rep. Llew Jones, R-Conrad 

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 

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. Total financial relief: about $170 million annually (ongoing). 

HB 212 Rep. Josh Kassmier, R-Fort Benton

Raises the exemption from Montana’s businesses equipment tax from the first $300,000 of equipment to the first $1 million of equipment. Total financial relief: about $9 million annually (ongoing). 

HB 221 Rep. Tom Welch, R-Dillon

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 

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. HB 267 Rep. Courtenay Sprunger, R-Kalispell

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. 


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