Tax Increase Unlikely in Possible Special Session, Says State Finance Chair
With a tight budget and a stream of cuts, many Montana officials are considering tax increases in a possible special legislative session, but according to Montana House Finance Chair Nancy Ballance tax increases will be a hard sell to the Republican dominated legislature.
"If [Governor Steve Bullock] calls us in to raise taxes, that will be a vote by the Legislature," Ballance said. "My guess is that that is one that's not going to pass, it didn't pass during the regular session and I don't think you will find many legislators whose opinions have changed on that."
Ballance says there is ongoing talk about a temporary tax increase, but says even that is unlikely.
"There is some discussion about a temporary tax, just to pay for the fire fund portion, which is about $70 million of the $230 million, about roughly a third of it. So you might get something on that, but not that long list that the Governor is talking about, you might get one or two temporary ones, but even that would be a stretch."
Ballance says they are looking at options to fix the state’s budget woes that won’t require raising taxes: specifically, she says the legislature is eyeing the state Judge’s retirement fund and the Employee Health trust Fund, both of which she says are currently over-funded.