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Flathead Republican legislators believe taxes should be fair and balanced.  We will continue working to reform taxes to accomplish this end.


Protect Montana property owners by reforming residential property taxes:

v     We believe that individual residential property taxes should not automatically rise as a result of the high value real estate market, and we will work to further reduce residential property taxes.

→In the 1999 session, Republican legislation reduced the taxable value to offset the          increased appraisals and provided an additional 15% average statewide tax reduction.  Since that time this reduction has been eroded by mill increases at the local level.

→In the 2003 session, property owners were again protected by a Republican bill from a 20% average increase in appraisals by a reduction in the taxable value.


Maintain flat tax on vehicles:

v     We believe the licensure process is now much simpler and we must continue to keep these taxes affordable.

→In the 1999 session, a Republican bill put an initiative on the ballot that was approved by the voters that greatly simplified and reduced by about 30% motor vehicle taxes for most Montanans.

→In 2003, a Republican bill provided an opportunity to purchase a permanent license on vehicles, trailers, snowmobiles, campers, etc., thus saving time, money and hassle.


Protect the business equipment tax reduction:

v     We believe that it is good tax policy to tax business profits rather than the equipment they use to make the profit and that economic recovery is driven by the profits made by these small businesses.   

→In 1999, a Republican sponsored bill cut this tax from 6% to 3% and exempted businesses from the tax that had $5,000 worth of equipment or less.

→In the next session, the exempted amount of business equipment property ($5000) should be raised so that fewer small businesses would be required to pay the tax.  Ninety six percent of Montana businesses have 10 or fewer employees. Montana’s farmers, ranchers, and businesses still pay a 3% tax each year on the equipment they use to make a profit, even if they don’t make a profit, while some surrounding states have no such tax.



Reform state income tax and capital gains:

v     We believe that further work is needed to make Montana’s state income tax and capital gains competitive enough to attract and hold good businesses.  Taxes are not competitive if they provide a compelling incentive for people to move from Montana before they sell an investment to avoid the Montana tax. 

→In 2003, a Republican bill increased taxes directed at tourists to provide some temporary funds needed to balance the budget.

→In 2005 the full proceeds from this bill will go toward reducing the state tax rates and capital gains to make Montana more competitive.  Montana state income tax and capital gains are still high when compared to surrounding states.

Resist all efforts to bring back Montana’s inheritance tax:

v     We believe that the death of a family member should not trigger additional taxes on Montana families, farms and small businesses. (Republican legislation lifted the burden of inheritance taxes on Montanans).


Republicans believe the $235 million deficit last session resulted from a down turn in the economy. People were making less money - therefore they paid less taxes. When the taxpayers tightened their belts it was only fair that Montana government did the same. Because of this the economy and general fund are rebounding quickly (predicted by Legislatives Services to be 142 million in the black by January).

Democrats believe that the Republican tax cuts caused the deficit. They accused the Republicans of rejecting their revenue enhancers; better know to you as taxes. Republicans believe holding down government spending has contributed to the economic rebound. We are committed to increasing your standard of living rather than expanding government in the future.