Archive for Taxation
Today, Republicans in the House voted for a $38 million tax increase on Montana small businesses, renewable energy industry and families, marking the largest tax increase of the session.
This increase came in the form SB 253. This bill will eliminate certain tax credits energy efficiency, biodiesel development and mineral exploration. If Republicans vote the measure into law, it would result in nearly a $14 million tax increase by 2015.
More than 50 small businesses from throughout the state currently benefit from the tax credits and would be hurt by the Republican plan to repeal it.
Democrats have fought this measure, which is sponsored by Republican Senator Bob Lake, every step of the way. The bill must receive a final vote in the House before it can proceed to the Governor. It passed today’s vote by a 51-47 margin.
Today, Senate Republicans gave initial approval to a bill that would give large, billion dollar corporations tax cuts. These tax cuts would come at a time when Republicans have slashed funding for important state services such as health care for children and seniors and our public education system.
Republicans claim that reducing taxes for these billion dollar corporations will help to stimulate growth in the state, however they conveniently ignore the fact that Montana has already been ranked as one of the best business climates in the nation.
Democrats presented a competing tax cut package that would focus tax cuts to our Montana made small businesses. These businesses create the large majority of jobs in the state and would make better use of these dollars than the billion dollar corporations included in the Republican package. By targeting these tax cuts to our state’s small businesses, the legislature would make these businesses more competitive against the GOP favored large out-of-state corporations.
Unfortunately, Republicans in the Senate were quick to kill the Democratic bill in committee.
The competing tax policies are a clear statement of values. Democrats value our small businesses and crucial state services that help all Montanans. Republicans value tax cuts for billion dollar corporations.
Democratic Sens. Gillan and Van Dyk (both from Billings) today had hearings on their bills that seek to reduce taxes on those families and businesses that need it most.
Sen. Gillan’s bill, SB 392, would exempt nearly 99% of Montana businesses from the business equipment tax over the coming years. This will allow Main Street Montana businesses to grow, expand and invest in their future, and create new jobs in the state at the same time.
Sen. Van Dyk’s bill would give every Montana homeowner a $150 tax credit over the next two years. This will put money directly in the pockets of Montana families and help Montana’s economy continue to improve.
One particularly notable thing about these measures is they are paid for in the Governor’s budget. This provides a stark contrast with Republicans who have sought to slash the Governor’s budget in a way that benefits wealthy out-of-state businesses.
Under the Republican tax plans, the the four largest recipients of tax cuts–all of which are over $4.4 million–are businesses based in other states or other countries. How does this grow Montana’s economy?
Republicans should not only the bills of Sen. Gillan and Sen. Van Dyk, they should also learn from their example and pursue legislation that will move Montana’s economy forward, rather than boosting the bottom line of companies halfway around the globe at the expense of Montanans.
The House Taxation Committee today heard one of the “Terrible Ten” unconstitutional bills. HB 397, a bill from Rep. James Knox, seeks to divert funds from our public school system, into private and home schools.
The bill would give tax credits to parents who seek to put their children in private schools or home schools. These tax credits would come out of Montana’s current budget for public schools.
Also, this bill provides no clarification requiring that the private/home schools be accredited. This mean, parents who send their children to unaccredited schools that have to learning requirements could still receive tax credits. The bill also allows parents to receive tax incentives to send their children to private religious schools.
The implications of this bill would be far reaching. This bill would allow public money be diverted into private, sometimes unaccredited and sometimes religious institutions. Also, because our state constitution requires that public schools be adequately funded, the bill would raise the tax burden on local communities to make up for the tax money given to these private institutions.
The committee will take executive action on this bill in the coming days.
Why is Montana’s House Republican Leader telling businesses to leave Montana? Good question.
Rep. Tom McGillvray, a financial advisor from Billings, recently told his colleagues in the House that he “advised three clients in the last year to move to Wyoming.”
“Representative McGillvray’s comments show that his party isn’t concerned with bringing jobs to Montana and improving the lives of its people, said Ted Dick, executive director of the Montana Democratic Party. The contrast between the two parties couldn’t be clearer. Our Democratic Governor is working hard to bring new businesses to the state, while the Republican Leader is urging businesses to stay out. Only one of these strategies is going to continue to move Montana’s economy forward. It’s time that Rep. McGillvray and the Republican Party follow Governor Schweitzer’s lead on jobs and the economy.”
Rep. McGillvray’s comments come a little more than a month after Governor Schweitzer explained his commitment to bringing new jobs to Montana, when he told other western governors, “My advice to new governors is if they see me getting off a plane in their state, they need to have me arrested. Because I’m coming to get their jobs.”
Rep. McGillvray’s comments also fly in the face of recent economic assessments of the business climate in the state. The US Chamber of Commerce and National Chamber Foundation recently rated Montana as the #1 state for entrepreneurship and overall business start-up activity.