$1.5 Billion Montana surplus- what should we spend it on
Montana has a $1.5 Billion surplus, give or take a few dollars. With the new legislative session set to begin on January 2nd, what do you think it should be spent on? Here is what Governor Greg Gianforte told the KMON morning show. The Governor lined out his 4-point goal on how the state’s surplus should be spent.
Governor Gianforte: “First, because we have been fiscally responsible, we have a surplus. So the first thing we ought to do when you overcharge the people, you ought to give them their money back. We have a billion dollars going into permanent tax reductions and rebates on both income tax and property tax. We also are proposing that we further increase the exemption on business equipment. We moved it from we moved it from 100,000 to 300,000, this budget proposes we move it up to a million dollars. This will take another 1700 Ranches, farms, small businesses off the business equipment tax rolls entirely. We did put some incentives in, particularly for adoption. We have the second highest number of kids in foster care in the country. And then here is a $5000 adoption credit.
The second major bucket was we need to fix some things. We've been kicking the can down the road on Warm Springs, Deer Lodge, community based mental health, as well as infrastructure for our rural towns. So we put money aside for that. These will be mostly revolving loan funds except for the capital for new buildings at Deer Lodge and Warm Springs.
The third thing is really you save. So that's what a family would do. So we're doubling the rainy day fund and we're tripling the fire suppression fund. And importantly, we're taking a portion of that increase in the fire suppression fund and putting it towards forest management.
The last thing, we're going to be debt free in 23.”
The Governor talked about decreasing the income tax liability as well:
Governor Gianforte: “Tax is a burden on everybody. We're going to continue to work to bring rates down. What we did last session, we went from 6.9% to 6.5%. This budget gets the income tax rate down to 5.9%. And if I have the great pleasure of serving this state for another six years, my goal is to get it under 5%, something like 4.9%.”
Governor Gianforte touched on many topics and you can hear the entire interview below: