MTPR

taxes

A stack of logs.
(PD)

The Trump administration has issued the latest blow in a trade war between the United States and Canada. The fight is over lumber, and Yellowstone Public Radio’s Nate Hegyi explains, it could save timber jobs in Montana while creating a lot of uncertainty in Canada.

Office of the governor, budget and program planning.
William Marcus

The governor's office says a special legislative session could be called in the coming weeks as the administration and the conservative majority party inch closer to striking a deal on a plan to balance the state budget.

State Budget Director Dan Villa called reporters into his office Wednesday for a brief update on the ongoing political tug-of-war over state spending as Montana faces a $227 million revenue shortfall.

Annual Change In State Personal Income Adjusted For Inflation 2007-2016
Screen shot of Pew Charitable Trust Research

Montana is facing a state budget crisis. The state is projected to have about $200 million less than it needs to fund everything in the budget that lawmakers and the governor agreed to this year. That much is clear, but there's a lot of disagreement about why the $200 million hole is there, and what to do about it.

The budget that state lawmakers passed, and that Governor Steve Bullock signed, was based on forecasts that projected Montana's economy would generate a lot more tax revenue than it actually did. That budget is now falling apart.

But the Bullock administration continues to tout the strength of Montana's economy

Former Montana Senator Max Baucus' job as U.S. ambassador to China ended in January. He now divides his time between Missoula, Bozeman, and global public speaking engagements.

Baucus this week stopped by Montana Public Radio Studios to talk about China, The Affordable Care Act, and tax reform.

U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte.
U.S. House of Representatives

U.S. Representative Greg Gianforte says he believes comprehensive tax reform is the best way to help Montanans keep more of their money. The Montana Republican made that remark Friday on the Northern Broadcasting System’s "Voices of Montana" radio program.

A crowd of more than 50 healthcare workers, patients, and advocates chanted outside the state capitol Tuesday afternoon protesting the Montana health department’s plan to reduce funding for Medicaid services.

They came for their first opportunity to testify before a legislative committee that’s also questioning the priorities of Governor Steve Bullock’s administration as it trims the state budget in the face of a continuing state revenue shortfall.

Revenue generated from the increased gas tax Montana lawmakers passed last year collected more than $6 million in its first four months.
Rusty Clark (CC-BY-NC-2)

Gas and diesel prices ticked up over the weekend as a new state tax went into effect. The new tax will increase every July 1 for the next six years, to fund maintenance on bridges and roads across the state.

The big state budget bill landed on Governor Steve Bullock’s desk Monday, one of the final acts of the 2017 legislative session, which was gaveled to a close Friday.

MTPR’s Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney joins us for a look at what Montana lawmakers did and didn’t accomplish since convening in January.

Reynermedia.com (CC-BY-2.0)

At the end of a legislative session defined by the state having less money than initially projected, lawmakers Wednesday negotiated a new budgeting system designed to protect the state against future revenue shortfalls. 

With state revenues down from slumping markets for oil, gas, coal and agricultural products, lawmakers spent most this session arguing over spending priorities in the state budget.

Katherine Hitt (CC-BY-ND-2.0)

A tax on medical marijuana is now on it’s way to the governor's desk after passing out of the House Tuesday morning.

A signature from Governor Steve Bullock is now all that stands in the way of a tax on medical marijuana providers becoming law.

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