Montana Tax Policy Benefits the Top 1%

Billings Gazette – February 14, 2016

The House Taxation Committee took executive action to kill House Bill 330. HB330 would increase the top Montana income tax rate from 6.9 percent to 8.9 percent. HB330 would add around $12 million to the Montana general fund in 2018, and about $50 million in 2019.

With HB330, individuals reporting over $400,000 of taxable Montana income would pay a rate of 8.9 percent on taxable income exceeding $400,000 per year. An income of $500,000 would be burdened with $2,000 more taxes; $100,000 times 2 percent.

In 2003, Montana Senate Bill 407 extended two generosities to the top 1 percent of Montana income taxpayers. 1. A credit for capital gains tax (only eight other states allow such an oddball credit to reduce state income tax liability). 2. Cutting the top tax rate from 11 percent to 6.9 percent.

“In 2006, just one year after the (SB407) tax cuts took effect, households making more than $500,000 received almost half of the tax cut. That amounted to an average tax cut of $30,500 a year per household (approximately the median wage in Montana). In other words, the wealthiest received a tax cut that is equivalent to the amount most Montanans make in a year. 

“Meanwhile, households with annual incomes less than $65,000 (81 percent of all Montana households) received, on average, $23.” 

That quote is from the Montana Budget and Policy Center’s July 16 report. Read it and communicate with your legislators.

Letter to the Editor

Bob Williams

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