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Job Tax Credit Bill Enters Legislature Again

HELENA — Montana businesses that add 15 new jobs over three years would be eligible for a tax credit under a new bill in the legislature.

Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish introduced House Bill 629 to the House Taxation Committee Thursday.

Former Governor Steve Bullock vetoed a similar bill in 2019 over concerns it would cost the state too much money while not helping enough. This bill has a similar projected cost.

Lobbyist Mark Taylor was one of four supporters representing several business interests.

“At its purest, this is a jobs billm,” Taylor said. If people don’t take advantage of it, that means they’re not growing the pie in terms of creation of new jobs.”

Taylor was joined in opposing the bill by representatives from chambers of commerce and conservative groups.

The only opponent at the hearing was Rose Bender of the Montana Budget and Policy Center, a think tank.

“Creating further tax expenditures or tax credits that benefit a small subset of businesses will reduce or narrow the base of taxpayers and is moving us in the wrong direction.”

This bill is based off of a 2011 Colorado law. The committee did not take immediate action on the bill.

James Bradley is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association, the Montana Newspaper Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.