Montana Public Radio

Gov Bullock Campaigns For Tobacco Tax Initiative In Whitefish

Oct 15, 2018

Governor Steve Bullock was in Whitefish Monday stumping for a ballot initiative to fund Medicaid expansion through increased tobacco taxes.

Standing in front of an array of candy-flavored vaporizers at North Valley Hospital, Bullock and a handful of healthcare professionals and a public school superintendent called Initiative 185 a “win-win” for ensuring Montanans have healthcare and reducing health impacts of tobacco products, especially among youth.

“There is no unfunded mandate that occurs as a result of this. The money coming from this will actually go directly to help cover the state part of covering 100,000 Montanans with healthcare,” Bullock said.

A 'no on I-185' sign at a Missoula gas station.
Credit Josh Burnham / MTPR

Republican legislators sent Bullock a letter earlier this month asking him to pursue setting a work requirement for able-bodied adults and strengthening workforce training requirements.

Bullock said those changes would need a legislative process but said he’s willing work with them to find solutions. Montanans will vote on Initiative 185 in the upcoming November 6 midterm election.