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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Tax cuts are the core of his proposed budget, Gianforte says

Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks to the press at a podium with a sign saying"Budget for Montana Families," next to a sign that says "$1 billion in tax relief." The governor was giving a preview of his proposed budget at the Capitol, Nov. 10, 2022. He said he plans to release the proposal in full this week.
Shaylee Ragar
/
Montana Public Radio
Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte speaks to the press the Capitol on Nov. 10, 2022 while giving a preview of his proposed budget.

Gov. Greg Gianforte gave a preview on Thursday of a proposed budget he’ll unveil in full this week, saying it would provide historic tax cuts and investments in services for Montana. He says it will also include boosts for business and private schools.

The Gianforte administration is piecing together a proposed budget factoring in an expected $1.7 billion surplus, which is in part fueled by a windfall of federal stimulus dollars the state received last year.

Gianforte says tax cuts are at the core of the plan.

“I fundamentally believe hard-working Montanans should keep more of what they earn.”

Gianforte can’t pass a budget unilaterally, and will need to work with the state Legislature to get it across the finish line. Republicans now hold supermajorities in both chambers of the statehouse.

Gianforte is proposing a $1 billion cut to income and property taxes, an annual $1,200 child tax credit for each child a family has under the age of 5 and a $5,000 tax credit for families who adopt children.

The income tax cut will target the state’s top marginal tax rate, meaning Montanans who make about $18,000 a year or more will see their taxes reduced.

Gianforte will suggest further cuts to the state’s tax on business equipment and doubling the cap on the state tax credit that benefits families who send their kids to private school.

The governor wants to put $300 million toward behavioral health services, including the Montana State Hospital, which last year lost $7 million in annual federal funds after investigators found shortfalls in patient care and safety.

Gianforte says one-time-only funds from the federal government will not be used to justify permanent tax cuts.

“All of the permanent relief in tax that we’re providing is coming out of the structural money that we can be assured will be there in the future.”

Gianforte held Thursday’s press conference before the full details of the budget are released. Governor’s office spokesperson, Brooke Stroyke, says Budget Director Ryan Osumdson will hold a briefing for press once the full document is released instead of the governor this week.

Updated: November 15, 2022 at 10:32 AM MST
Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify how the Gianforte administration will brief the public on the budget once it is released.
Shaylee began covering state government and politics for Montana Public Radio in August 2020. Originally from Belgrade, Montana, she graduated from the University of Montana’s journalism program and previously worked as a reporter for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and UM’s Legislative News Service. Please share tips, questions and concerns by emailing shaylee.ragar@mso.umt.edu.