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Government & Politics

Gov. Gianforte's Budget Proposes Tax And Spending Cuts

Greg Gianforte stands at a podium with a poster that reads "Roadmap to the Montane Comeback: Budget for the 2023 biennium."
Austin Amestoy
UM Legislative News Service
Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte unveils his budget proposal in a press conference at the Montana Capitol in Helena January 7, 2021. The proposal promises a $100 million decrease in state spending over the next two years.

Gov. Greg Gianforte’s first budget proposal includes broad tax cuts and a marginal change in the state’s general fund spending.

Gianforte is proposing a less than one percent increase, not adjusted for inflation, to the state’s general fund spending over the next 2 years.

Gianforte promised on the campaign trail to hold the line on state spending while decreasing state taxes.

"Today, I’m proud to announce that this budget is the roadmap for Montana’s comeback," he said.

The budget proposes decreasing the state’s top marginal individual income tax rate from 6.9% to 6.75%, exempting new businesses that bring long-term jobs to Montana from the state’s capital gains tax and eliminating the business equipment tax for roughly 4,000 businesses.

"With our budget, Montanans will keep more of what they earn."

Gianforte’s budget also proposes finding savings in state spending, asking all state agencies to absorb a 4% vacancy savings over the biennium. Gianforte’s Budget Director Kurt Alme projects that to save about $24 million.

Gianforte’s budget also cuts out his use of the governor’s plane for a savings of about $320,000 per year. Gianforte owns a private plane and his budget director says he will personally cover his own travel expenses. Gianforte says he’ll put that saved money towards paying for a review of state regulations on business and industry.

The new governor is suggesting the state invest $23.5 million a year in substance abuse and prevention programs. He proposes paying for this, in part, by using tax revenue from the sale of marijuana, which was recently legalized by Montana voters.

Gianforte’s proposed budget suggests spending $100 million less than what former Gov. Steve Bullock proposed in December.