Economy

Montana House passes $12.6 billion spending plan

BY: - March 22, 2021

The state House of Representatives on Monday gave preliminary approval to the state’s main budget bill, House Bill 2, following hours of debate and a series of ultimately failed amendments from Democrats to restore cuts to healthcare services that lawmakers originally made in subcommittees earlier in the session. The $12.6 billion spending plan, the product […]

Montana Legislature takes up $350M broadband plan

BY: - March 19, 2021

About three billion good ideas — that’s what’s at stake over the coming weeks, as one lawmaker put it, as the state Legislature works to authorize or appropriate more than $900 million of Montana’s roughly $3 billion potential allotment from the American Rescue Plan Act. That act is the most recent COVID-19 aid package to […]

Where’s recreational weed money going?

BY: - March 19, 2021

The long-awaited plan to implement the adult-use recreational marijuana program that voters approved in the last election has arrived at the Capitol and could land in a legislative committee as early as next week, setting the stage for one of this session’s key policy debates. At hand is a gargantuan 260-page bill from Rep. Mike […]

Montana Commerce Department awards nearly a half-million to community projects

BY: - March 19, 2021

The Montana Department of Commerce today announced it is awarding $430,273 to support small business growth and local community development across 15 Montana communities. The funding is from the Big Sky Economic Development Trust Fund Planning Grant, which provides state funds to promote long-term, stable economic growth in Montana. “When small businesses across Montana thrive, […]

Gianforte extends filing deadlines for individual income taxpayers to May 17

BY: - March 18, 2021

Governor Greg Gianforte today extended the payment and filing deadlines for Montana individual income taxpayers’ 2020 tax returns to May 17, 2021.   “Last year brought real, serious challenges to Montanans, and it’s only appropriate to extend the deadline so Montana taxpayers have some extra time to file, without having to worry about interest or penalties,” Gianforte said.   The May […]

Montana’s earned income tax credit looks to receive a boost

BY: - March 18, 2021

Legislative Democrats have revived a proposal to boost the amount of cash that Montanans get from the state earned income tax credit, removing an increase on taxes for top-earners that stymied the progress of a previous version of the bill. Like that previous bill, which failed to make it out of the House Taxation Committee, […]

Attorneys general: Tax-cut rule is ‘unprecedented and unconstitutional’

BY: - March 17, 2021

WASHINGTON — Republican attorneys general from 21 states are attacking the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief law as an “unprecedented and unconstitutional infringement” on state sovereignty because it restricts tax cuts by states. The attorneys general in a letter to the Treasury Department threatened to take action against the Biden administration over the law’s tax cut provision. The group […]

Unemployment backlog on menu for ARPA spending

BY: - March 17, 2021

The state Department of Labor and Industry is looking to use an estimated $5.2 million in the recent federal COVID-19 aid package to modernize and reform the administration of its unemployment insurance benefit system, improvements the agency says are needed after processing delays slowed down the disbursement of jobless benefits during the pandemic. That sum […]

COVID relief plan from Congress creates push to spend more than $900 million in Helena

BY: - March 15, 2021

The Legislature on Monday began the highly intricate (and condensed) process of appropriating around $1 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds as part of the American Rescue Plan Act, the most recent virus aid package to come out of Congress and the first in the Biden era. When the dust settles, Montana could be getting […]

States question whether new federal stimulus law rules out tax cuts

BY: - March 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden’s massive pandemic stimulus law pumps a welcome infusion of federal aid into state and local government coffers — but one brief section is raising questions about whether states are barred from cutting their own taxes if they accept the federal help. The Senate added language to the COVID-19 relief package prohibiting […]

House committee approves amendment increasing income tax cuts

BY: - March 12, 2021

A House panel on Friday approved and expanded a bill from the governor’s office to cut the top income tax rate, more than doubling the likely cost of the cut to state revenues. The vote came as the committee considered three of the governor’s flagship tax cut proposals, though the House Taxation Committee ultimately decided […]

A good return on investment: New report shows Montana senators benefit from defense lobbying

BY: - March 10, 2021

A new report this week looking at the defense industry and lobbying shows intercontinental ballistic missile contractors directed millions towards politicians and efforts to support a new system, which would be located in Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Those lobbying efforts appear to have largely been effective as the United States plans to replace its Minuteman […]