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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Doubling The Wine Tax Up For Debate In Montana Senate

A bill in the Montana Senate would double the wine tax in an effort to boost revenue in the state as it faces a budget shortfall.

A bill in the Montana Senate would double the wine tax in an effort to boost revenue in the state as it faces a budget shortfall. Democratic Senator Lea Whitford of Cut Bank is carrying Senate Bill 191."With a minor increase, we create the opportunity to prevent deeper cuts to our schools, our communities, and essential services," says Whitford.

Opponents who testified at a committee hearing today ranged from small winery operators to consumers. Mona Jamison with the Wine Institute says the tax is too specific and regressive.

"What’s interesting is that this bill is attempting to help balance the budget problem that we have on the back of small businesses and consumers," says Jamison.

As it stands, the wine tax is 27 cents per liter. The last change in wine tax was in 1985, which was about a 25 percent increase.

Cole Grant is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.

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