Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Montana Senate Majority Leader Steve Fitzpatrick was one of the Republican leaders who pushed through the property tax rebate bill giving eligible homeowners up to a $675 check for this year and next.

KGVO News spoke to Fitzpatrick on Monday about a press release in which he challenged state Democrats about the property tax rebates.

Republican Leader asks how many Democratic Legislators took the Rebate Checks

“I've sent in a request for the Department of Revenue to tell us which of the Democratic legislators who voted against all the rebates decided to take them in their own personal capacity,” asked Fitzpatrick. “I think it will be quite interesting to see which legislators thought that the people didn't deserve to have a rebate but not that they themselves deserve one. Kind of an interesting thing, and well, I guess we'll find out what the information says.”

Fitzpatrick explained his own view of the Democratic party’s platform on how to use the over $2 billion surplus in the state budget.

“You know, I'm not sure I can speak for all of them, but I know the Democratic Party had a platform where they wanted to spend it on other things,” he said. “They wanted to spend it on a variety of programs. They had proposals for housing, they had some programs for child care. They had a much different platform than we did. “Ours was focused more on giving people back their tax money. I don't believe the Democratic Party members in the Senate had any platform that was aligned with that goal.”

Fitzpatrick Compared Republican vs Democratic Plans on Property Tax Relief

Fitzpatrick compared his view of the Democrat’s plan for property tax relief.

“The proposal by the Democrats was quite broad,” he said. “It would have given everybody in the state of Montana, nonresidents, people that own second homes, people with property up to $1.5 million, in other words, some of the wealthiest people in the state, pretty large property tax breaks. On the other hand, we tried to focus more on Montanans and people who live in the state and reside in a house. There's no rebate here for a second home like the Democrats wanted to do. There's no rebate here for a nonresident who owns a million-dollar condo in Bozeman. That's what the Democrats wanted to do.”

Fitzpatrick challenged the view by some that the Republican majority in the state legislature did not properly address the dramatic increase in property taxes from the recent revaluation of Montana homes.

Fitzpatrick Insists the Legislature Addressed the Property Tax Issue

“It's not accurate to say that the legislature didn't do anything about property taxes,” he said. “We passed the rebates; $675 this year and next year, and I think for most people as the property tax bills come out; now it's not for everybody but for most people; those rebates are going to cover most of the increase in property taxes and I think there's going to be a large chunk of people that actually come out ahead with the rebates where they are actually going to get more money back from the state than they paid in with the increase in the property taxes.”

KGVO has reached out to Democratic Party Chair Robyn Driscoll for a comment about  Fitzpatrick’s request.

A copy of the majority leader’s public records request can be found below.

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