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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Governor Calls For Tax Increases On Medical Marijuana, Cigarettes, And Wine

The Montana Capitol
William Marcus
Montana Public Radio

Governor Steve Bullock’s nearly $10 billion budget proposal could mean Montanans will end up paying a little more for wine and cigarettes. Medical marijuana, too.

Governor Bullock’s budget proposal for the 2019 biennium includes consumption tax increases. A 6 percent tax on medical marijuana, the budget says, could generate $2.6 million for the state’s general fund over the biennium.

Montana’s existing medical marijuana special revenue account currently has a $2 million balance. Under the governor’s proposal those funds would be transferred into the state’s general fund.

"That state special fund for medical marijuana would continue to exist," Montana Legislative Fiscal Division Manager Quinn Holzer told lawmakers on Tuesday. "The fees that would be paid for the card holders, under the initiative that passed under (I-182) would be paid into that state special program. Costs would be paid out of there. While the fund would continue to exist it would be reliant upon new revenues into it, rather than the fund balance currently in there. "

Other proposed consumption tax hikes include increasing the cigarette tax by $0.50 per pack to raise over $23 million for the general fund.

The governor’s office says raising Montana’s wine tax by $0.27 per liter could generate $5 million.

Bullock’s budget proposal also includes budget cuts to state agencies.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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