2019 Montana Legislative Session Recap

Over the past four months, Montana Budget & Policy Center’s staff analyzed nearly every part of the state budget, provided research and testimony on important tax policy, advocated for essential investments in Indian Country, and worked with a broad coalition to pass HB 658, continuing Montana’s Medicaid expansion. In May, MBPC travelled the state to attend four Legislative Session Wrap Up events hosted by Montana Women Vote and Forward Montana.

Below is a recap of the work that we shared with partner organizations, community members, and volunteers at these events.

State Revenue & Tax Policy

MBPC researches and advocates for sound tax policy that is fair to taxpayers living on low- and middle-incomes and also brings in sufficient revenue to provide the public programs, services, and infrastructure essential to maintaining healthy communities and families.

During the 2019 legislative session MBPC:

  • Saved over $400 million in general fund dollars over the next four years by defeating bills that would have eroded Montana’s tax base;
  • Defeated HB 148, which would have crippled future state tax policy by requiring a two-thirds supermajority vote by the Legislature to raise revenue;
  • Garnered bipartisan support for progressive bills that reform the capital gains tax credit (HB 707) and the tax on rental cars (SB 360). Unfortunately, neither of these bills made it to the governor’s desk;
  • Increased revenue by passing HB 694, raising fees for out of state investment; and
  • Defeated a sales tax (HB 300) that would have made our state’s tax system more regressive requiring households with lower-incomes to pay an even greater portion of their income in taxes compared to those households with higher incomes.

Social Safety Net & Health Care Access

Montana should be a state where everyone has the opportunity to benefit from a growing economy. Ensuring Montana citizens have affordable, accessible health care and access to paid family and medical leave is critical to reaching this goal.

During the 2019 Legislative session MBPC:

  • Produced 14 reports on Medicaid expansion, arming the successful reauthorization effort with the information necessary to effectively defend health care coverage for 100,000 Montanans;
  • Generated 200 positive news stories about Medicaid expansion and worked with partners on a rally where over 400 Montanans showed up at the Capitol to make their voices heard;
  • Supported the passage of SB 30, allowing Medicaid reimbursement for peer support services; and
  • Fought for paid family and medical leave for working Montana families, continuing to educate legislators and businesses on the policy’s benefits for the economy and families.

Housing

MBPC is dedicated to studying how housing instability impacts low-income residents and developing policy solutions that support inclusive and economically viable communities.

During the 2019 legislative session MBPC:

  • Supported HB 16, a bill establishing an affordable housing loan program that successfully passed out of the legislature.

State-Tribal Policy

MBPC has a special focus on state-tribal policy to promote sound fiscal and budget policy that can help reverse the history of economic injustice that has led many American Indians to unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment, and poor health.

During the 2019 legislative session MBPC:

Education

Investing state and local resources in our children and our schools produces short-term and long-term dividends for Montana’s economy as a whole.

During the 2019 legislative session MBPC:

  • Supported the repeal of the sunset on the 6-mill levy that passed through the Senate with bipartisan support. Unfortunately, SB 152 did not make it to the governor’s desk; and
  • Opposed a bill that would have drastically reduced the property tax base for public schools. HB 692 failed without a hearing.

 

 

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