Montana lawmakers may vote to remove the state’s tax on certain industrial pollution control equipment.
Senator Bruce Tutvedt (R-Kalispell) is sponsoring SB240, which removes taxes on new “air and water pollution control equipment” installed by companies like electric cooperatives, power plants and factories.
Representative Tom Jacobson (D-Great Falls) has some reservations about the proposal. He argues pollution control equipment still adds value to a company “and therefore, based on our tax system there is a tax rate that should be attached to it.” However, Jacobson does say he understands the argument behind dropping the tax, saying “we should incentivize good behavior and penalize bad behavior.” Jacobson says he prefers the idea of lowering the pollution control equipment tax–but not necessarily eliminating it.
Another bill by Representative Mike Miller (R-Helmville) does gradually lower the pollution control equipment from its current three percent. That bill is waiting in the Senate.
Legislative analysts say pollution control equipment in Montana brings in about $21 million a year in total tax revenue to state, county, and local governments. Senator Tutvedt’s bill would only remove taxes on equipment purchased on or after the first of the year–so it wouldn’t immediately touch that $21 million. However, that revenue would decrease over time as older equipment drops in value and companies upgrade.
Tutvedt’s bill passed it’s initial vote in the Senate 40-9. It’s final vote was caught up in the April 5th Senate Democratic Protest. That vote was 28-0. No one spoke against the bill in the House Taxation Committee hearing.