At a town hall meeting in Bozeman Tuesday, state Democrats said the GOP tax plan could worsen Montana’s budget woes.
At a special session in November, legislators passed a series of cuts and fees to make up a $227 million dollar budget shortfall.
State representative Jim Hamilton, a Bozeman Democrat and member of the legislature’s tax committee, says the new GOP tax plan will add to that deficit.
“We think there may be another $60 or $70 million dollars, and the numbers are still being worked on so don’t quote me on that one for right now, but roughly another $60 or $70 million dollars of lost revenue to the state per year,” he says.
Hamilton says the additional loss in revenue would stem from tax deductions for small businesses and corporations, the potential sequestration of federal mineral royalty payments, and the elimination of the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
However, he also concedes many Montanans will see a personal tax break.
“Really, the truth is, in the tax bill, people will get a tax cut in the early years. Whether all that other stuff that’s going to happen is worth that is another question,” he says.
Montana Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte says his party’s tax reform will provide tax relief for many Montanans and help small businesses in the state grow.
Both the U.S. Senate and the House passed the GOP tax overhaul on Tuesday night, but the House must vote again due to a small change made to the bill by the Senate.