Bullock proposes $400 tax rebate for homeowners in gubernatorial bid

Steve Bullock unveils his property tax rebate proposal in Helena Monday

Democratic candidate for Governor Steve Bullock says if elected to the state’s highest office he would offer a tax rebate to Montana homeowners.

Bullock says this $400 rebate is a part of his job creation platform.

Bullock’s Republican rival, Rick Hill says it doesn’t go far enough.

“As Governor, my top priority will be helping small businesses create jobs and growing Montana’s economy,” Bullock said Monday, making his first major policy announcement of the general election season from the core of downtown Helena. He says his one-time $400 property tax rebate would go to all those who own a primary residence in Montana.

He calls it a job-creating measure. Bullock says if an average Montana family receives a $400 check, they’ll go out to dinner or buy something they’ve been putting off.

“When you return money to Montanans, they’re gonna spend it on Main Street,” Bullock said, “where we are here today and that will help grow businesses. These dollars will stay local, being continually reinvested and most importantly, creating jobs.”

The state is projected to have a budget surplus of over $400 million this next budget cycle.

Bullock says you can return some money to homeowners and still have enough left to better fund programs that have faced cuts from recent legislative sessions.

“That means returning money to taxpayers, ensuring healthy budget surpluses and investments in public education and infrastructure.”

Down the street from Bullock’s announcement, Helena homeowner Sandy Caudle says she would probably spend her rebate on home improvement.

“It would probably be windows and I would probably do it at Lowe’s here in town,” Caudle said.

Clancy homeowner Charles Lester says he would donate his to his favorite charity, Habitat for Humanity.

“As an over 65 homeowner I get a deduction already from the state so it’s not as important to me as it would be for other homeowners,” Lester said.

Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rick Hill responded to Bullock’s announcement by saying he is glad Bullock is supporting a property tax cut. But, he says “Montanans and our job creators need permanent property tax relief, not a one-time gimmick that won’t do anything to stimulate the economy.”  Hill wants to use surplus funds from expanding oil and gas development to permanently lower property taxes. He also wants to shift education funding away from property taxes and into oil and gas revenues.

Bullock says he will be releasing more on his plan for creating jobs in the coming weeks and months.