Legislators of both parties agree: It's time to look at state's tax structure
Published one month ago by The Billings Gazette

The Montana State Capitol building in Helena.

State Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad

Moore

Ballance

Sesso

The Montana State Capitol building in Helena.

State Sen. Llew Jones, R-Conrad

While Montana’s Republican-dominated Legislature doesn’t seem to have an appetite for any tax increases, as lawmakers gathered in Helena last week there were increasing rumblings about changing how major economic sectors are taxed to reflect a 21st century economy.

“We’re good at taxing barrels of oil, bushels of wheat, tons of coal,” said Sen. Llew Jones, a Republican from Conrad. “We’re not so good at taxing services.”

Jones and other legislators gathered in Helena to debate recommendations to make to Gov. Steve Bullock as he considers possible statewide budget cuts of up to 10 percent. The cuts are necessary because revenues have come in lower than expected.

Though the state is still bringing in more money than last fiscal year, it’s less than the estimates lawmakers used to build the state’s two-year budget, leaving a gap between what agencies planned to spend and how much money the state has to pay for it.

Democrats and Montanans poised to suffer most under the cuts, which if enacted could mean everything from fewer guards at the state prison to shutting d ...

Added: 24 days ago