It is simple: It’s time to put Montana’s hard-earned tax dollars to work for Montanans.
Right now, Montana’s working families are suffering. High costs and scarce resources are hitting us right in our wallets.
And we have the resources we need to fix those problems.
By the start of the next session, we’ll be sitting on $1.7 billion of Montanans’ hard-earned tax dollars. This is our plan to put $1 billion of those tax dollars to work for the families who earned them.
Your hard-earned tax dollars are just sitting there, when they could be working for you.
Housing – $500 million
Housing is the number one issue we hear about from our constituents. At the center of the crisis is: we have more people looking for housing than we have new housing units being built.
Montana Democrats have led on this issue in the past – Dave Fern in Whitefish succeeded in creating the Multifamily Coal Trust Homes program, which uses Coal Tax Trust Fund dollars to provide low-interest loans to developers who build affordable rental homes.
Our Plan: We want to channel $500 million into providing low-interest loans to developers building affordable rental homes, in order to turbocharge the number of affordable units available to Montanans.
Property Tax Relief – $250 million
For the folks who are already lucky enough to own their homes, affordability is a big challenge for them too. We’ve been hearing for years from Montanans that the value of their property is growing so fast that they can’t afford the property tax bills on their homes, even though it was affordable when they first bought them. We tried to tackle this problem during the last session of the Legislature and were shot down, so we’re trying once again to do right by working Montanans: 1) immediate relief–a one-time property tax refund targeted to actual working folks, not millionaires, to take the edge off of this year’s property tax bills, 2) ongoing protection against rising property tax bills for all working Montanans.
Child Care – $125 million
Child care isn’t a luxury–it’s a necessity for working families–but we haven’t been treating it like the essential service that it is. Parents, especially women, can’t get into or stay in the workforce without reliable, affordable, accessible child care. We need to tackle this with a serious, bold investment: establishing more providers in child care deserts, expanding the capacity of existing providers, and lowering out of pocket costs for more working families. To establish more providers, we propose offering start-up grants and low-interest loans to folks who want to open a childcare business and lower their barriers to entering this field.
Mental Health Care – $125 million
As a state we’ve always struggled with mental health and substance use challenges. One in five children has seriously considered suicide, while 2 in 5 are showing symptoms of depression. Our biggest obstacle is lack of treatment options–Montanans just can’t get care and support when they need it.
We can put serious resources – $125 million – into expanding the availability of community-based treatment. We have the resources to reinvest in the structures that help hold our communities together and that see our neighbors through the most vulnerable periods of their lives.
On Wednesday, at 10:00am, Democratic leaders held a press conference to lay out the plan
- Full video of budget press conference, MPAN [7/13/22]
- Dems want $1 billion of Montana’s budget surplus spent on housing, childcare and mental health, Montana Free Press [7/13/22]
- Democrats announce proposal for budget surplus, Lee Papers [7/13/22]
- Montana lawmakers start debating how to use expected $1B+ budget surplus, MTN News [7/13/22]
- Montana Democrats unveil plan to reinvest $1B in state surplus, Bozeman Daily Chronicle [7/13/22]
- Democrats reveal $1 billion tax budget, housing to receive $500 million, ABC Fox Montana [7/13/22]
- Democrats say budget surplus should fund housing, child care and mental health, Montana Public Radio [7/13/22]
- Montana Democrats discuss plan for $1 billion in budget surplus, Daily Montanan [7/13/22]