Week 7 wraps up at the Legislature
Last updated 2/23/2021 at 8:47am
The weather has warmed up and so has the legislative process. Up until now, the bills have been trickling into my committees. I picked up a bill, Senate Bill 284, that I am carrying for the counties. It is what folks are calling the Gravel Bill. More on that in a bit. There are now 284 Senate bills picked up and are either moving forward or stopped along the way. Transmittal, which is the deadline when all non-revenue bills must be in and moving, will be a week from this coming Wednesday. We were informed today that it is possible for 200 more bills to hit our desks in the next week-and-a-half, which is about as many as we have seen thus far.
Back to SB 284; all the counties in the state are currently required to pay application fees, removal charges, archaeological studies, mitigation for sage grouse, and who knows what else to the state. SB 284 waives all this for a gravel pit application if the gravel from the pit is to be used on that county’s roads. It is a very simple concept, at least as I see it. Your property taxes pay the road budget of the county, which in turn, is used to cover the gravel pit cost the state requires. In my opinion, income tax is supposed to be funding state agencies, not property tax.
It is most interesting the number of messages and emails I have received on issues dealing with cross bows and outfitter license requests. I do not keep track of the numbers, but I get some from my district, many statewide, and the rest from out-of-state. However, when it comes to the big issue of the amount of money going to the Department of Public Health and Human Services or Native Language, I get very few messages, if any. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are being put to special interest and programs that are feel-good issues. The new governor has appointed directors to agencies pledging to look for waste, corruption and misspending.
This past week felt like tax reform week, as the governor had three bills to reform taxes and get Montana’s economy going. Senate bills 181, 182, and 184 which I also mentioned last week, all work toward aligning, lowering or encouraging business. Stay safe and enjoy!
State Sen. Russ Tempel can be emailed at [email protected] .