Why is Montana state revenue lower than expected?

After the state of Montana struggled with a surprising $227 million budget deficit in 2017, many are wondering why the state’s revenue is so weak at a time when the economy is growing.

An economist says it’s largely due to Montana’s reliance on income tax.

Patrick Barkey, director of UM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, says the state’s tax system mostly relies on income tax. Montana’s wage and salary workers are doing well, but it seems that business owners and agriculture workers—one of the state’s biggest industries—are struggling. It’s hard for the state treasury to know how much income to expect until taxes are filed in April.