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Montana Legislature Report for Timber Harvesters and Haulers – Week 3

Montana Legislative Session Update - Week 3

By Jason Todhunter, MLA’s hard-working representative.

Below are some highlights from the legislature's third week back, including some bills to monitor in the coming months that will have an impact on MLA members:

SB 121 – Reduce the top marginal income tax rate and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit or EITC (Becky Beard)

Support - This bill, which you may hear referred to in the news as a “tax break for the rich,” will reduce income tax for everyone making more than $20,500 per year. It reduces the top rate from 6.5% to 5.9%. Montana has extra money this year, and this bill will put a little bit more back into the ole paycheck.

SB 124 – Revise corporate income tax apportionment (Greg Hertz)

Monitor - This bill changes multi-state corporations to a single sales factor.

HB 212 – Increase the business equipment tax exemption (Joshua Kassmier)

Support - This bill will raise the tax exemption from the current $300,000 level to $1 million of your class 8 business equipment tax. It is a great bill that will backfill the counties and help businesses grow without raising taxes on your home. It is a true exemption that will give everyone a break from this regressive tax.

SB 137 – Revise bike safety laws (Steve Fitzpatrick)

Oppose - This bill would require vehicles to yield at least 5 feet to a bicyclist. I opposed this part of the bill after talking with some log haulers. Our concerns are, a truck looks big, how will we defend whether we gave them 5 feet or not, and is this going to result in truck drivers getting turned in by this law? How will we fight this? The bill also requires a bicyclist to wear a red light at night. This part is beneficial, and I supported this portion of the bill.

Other highlights this week included the Montana Chamber of Commerce meeting on Monday and the Thursday morning meeting with Treasure State Resources. We are also still working on the Streamside Management Zone Law (SMZ)/310 law permitting issue and brush burning...stay tuned!

Keep an eye out for more updates on comparable legislative proposals in the coming months. In the meantime, for those of you with the time/passion for following the legislative process:

The Montana Logging Association is a strong voice for Montana’s timber harvesting industry professionals, representing the interests and advocating on behalf of more than 500 members in state and federal legislative matters.

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