Tom Woods

Democrat bill seeks to raise state income tax

Helena – A Democrat legislator from Bozeman has introduced a bill to raise the state income tax. House bill 452, by Representative Tom Woods would cost taxpayers more than $78 Million over the next 4 years.

If it becomes law, Rep. Tom Woods’ bill would increase income taxes by $6.6 million in fiscal 2018, $24.5 million in 2019, $22.8 million in 2020 and $24.4 million in 2021, according to a fiscal note from the governor’s budget office. Montana’s current income tax has a top rate of 6.9%, Rep. Woods’ new plan includes adding two new tax brackets with rates of 7.4% and 7.9%.

During a hearing in the House Taxation committee, Rep. Woods told lawmakers the $78 Million tax increase, “seems fairly reasonable to me.” He noted that the new tax revenues would help fill budget holes during this tight budget session.

A lobbyist for the left-leaning, Montana Budget and Policy center call Rep. Wood’s proposal a “commonsense bill” that would increase tax fairness.

Bob Story of the Montana Taxpayers Association opposed the proposal and questioned why the legislature would enact a permanent tax increase to solve a short term budget problem.

The committee took no action on the bill during its Tuesday hearing.

By: Big Sky Headlines staff