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Proposed Montana legislative special session on tax issues falls short



Helena, Montana – There has been no success in calling a special session of the Montana Legislature to discuss matters about taxes.

The findings of a survey conducted among lawmakers were made public by the Montana Secretary of State’s Office on Friday night. Out of the 76 members of the Legislature who must vote in favor of a special session on January 15, only 55 voted in favor. 28 parliamentarians failed to return their ballots by the deadline of 5 p.m. on Friday, while 67 lawmakers voted against the special session.

The idea for a special session was supported by one Democrat and 54 Republicans. It was opposed by 36 Democrats and 31 Republicans.

The Montana Freedom Caucus, a group of ardently conservative Republican lawmakers, declared last month that its members would formally request to hold a special session with an emphasis on tax relief. Four bills were put up by them, two of which would have restricted school equalization mills to prevent property tax hikes and the other two of which would have given taxpayers back their share of the state’s excess revenue.

Even though this attempt was unsuccessful, it was the closest to calling a special session since former Governor Steve Bullock did it in November 2017. Last year, 44 MPs approved a proposal to hold a special session to establish a special legislative committee on election security, while 53 members supported convening one to grant tax rebates. To address two proposed ballot proposals, 45 MPs voted in favor of calling a special session in 2018.

A task committee on property taxes will be established, according to Gov. Greg Gianforte, to present recommendations to legislators by January 2025, when the next regular legislative session will convene.


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