Montana Senate backs one-time income tax reduction

2013-04-04T17:00:00Z 2013-04-04T19:53:16Z Montana Senate backs one-time income tax reductionThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 04, 2013 5:00 pm  • 

HELENA – The Montana Senate backed a one-time income tax cut of $47 million on Thursday as lawmakers continue to hash out competing budget priorities that threaten to chew up a projected surplus.

Senate Bill 394 was endorsed Thursday in a 26-24 initial vote. Supporters said the tax cut needs to be considered as lawmakers begin to weigh budget priorities.

Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich argued that some of the surplus needs to be sent to taxpayers.

“You have to ask yourself: Whose money is it? Whose money is the $500 million sitting in our bank account right now?” Wittich said. “I would like to give a little back and return it to the people who paid it.”

But Democrats argued the 5 percent across-the-board reduction provides too much benefit to the wealthy, and very little for average residents. They said they preferred other stalled measures to return tax money, such as the $400-per-homeonwer rebate sought by Gov. Steve Bullock.

“There’s a lot of tax relief already floating around,” said state Sen. Dick Barrett, D-Missoula. “We have got to get started on the process of getting this budget under some semblance of control. I suggest the place to start is voting no on this bill.”

The full Senate also gave final approval, 26-24, to expand Medicaid to the working poor with federal money. Some Republicans joined Democrats in supporting that initiative, a priority of Bullock’s.

Supporters argue the influx of federal money will boost the economy and help hospitals buried with uncompensated care costs for treating the uninsured. Opponents argue the state could be left holding a big bill down the road if the federal government fails to live up to the obligation.

The main budget bill was also being debated in a Senate panel, where controversial funding issues in the Department of Public Health and Human Services continued to be the focus.

A long line of supporters for Title X federal family planning money asked the Senate Finance Committee to restore the money they argue is used for health screenings, birth control and other preventative care. The money was axed by conservatives in the House opposed to Planned Parenthood.

“Title X is not about abortion. If anything it is about preventing abortion,” said Stacey Anderson of Planned Parenthood of Montana. “It is about keeping women healthy. It is about keeping their partners healthy.”

The panel was expected to vote on the matter Friday.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Search our events calendar