Montana’s State Budget
Strong, growing communities and states don’t just happen. We create them. The cornerstones of communities are modern schools, safe roads, good libraries and community centers, reliable water systems, accessible healthcare, and emergency response services. When we have a healthy state budget, we can invest in and build up a solid foundation for our state.
Unfortunately, the declining state revenue threatens Montana’s ability to adequately invest in the public institutions and services that educate our children, keep our communities safe, and provide health care and other services.
The Partnership for Montana’s Future is committed to advocating for increased investment in programs that help families in our state and prevent cuts to our state budget that threaten the health of communities. Together, the members of the Partnership for Montana’s Future will work to educate the public, elected officials, and other advocates about the critical and inseparable connection between revenue and community investments.
Montana communities and families are hurting because Montana is facing a long-term revenue problem. Instead of collecting the money we need to fund the state we love, special interests, super wealthy, and out-of-state corporations have gotten away with massive tax breaks.
This means hundreds of millions less for our communities, our families, and the things that help make Montana the state we love to live in. When those at the top reap the benefit of tax breaks, the rest of us face higher tuition and increased pressure on local property taxes to keep our communities functioning; seniors and individuals with disabilities are left in the cold without services, and foundations of our communities continue to erode.
We can fix this problem. The Partnership for Montana’s Future will work together to create a fair tax structure that brings in enough revenue to keep Montana the state we love.
Fair and responsible tax policies include:
- Maintaining a state Earned Income Tax Credit to help 80,000 working Montana families make ends meet;
- Restoring a top income tax rate on the wealthiest 1% of households that disproportionately benefited from tax cuts put in place over a decade ago;
- Paring back the tax cut given on income made through investments and level the playing field for average Montanans who work for their income;
- Updating the state’s tax on tobacco-related products, to provide much-needed investments in health services for seniors, children, and people with disabilities; and
- Closing tax loopholes that benefit out-of-state corporations and cost our state millions.
Protecting Access to Health Care
Ensuring Montana citizens have affordable, accessible health care is critical to our state’s economy. When individuals have health care coverage, they will be healthier over their lifetime.
In 2015, the Montana Legislature passed the Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership (HELP) Act. This law expanded Medicaid health care coverage to Montanans who had previously been left in a gap without any access to affordable health care.
- Nearly 100,000 Montanans now have health care coverage;
- The uninsured rate has dropped to an all-time low, with 93% of Montanans having insurance;
- Nearly $1 billion in federal funds have been injected into Montana’s economy; and
- Nearly 25,000 preventative screenings have been performed.
Due to the 2015 law’s language, the HELP act will expire in 2019, and we must act before June 2019 to ensure that nearly 100,000 Montanans do not lose their health insurance. The Partnership for Montana’s Future is dedicated to continuing this successful program in order to maintain coverage for our low-income friends and neighbors across the state.