By Freddy Monares/UM Legislative News Service
HELENA – The Legislature passed a bill Wednesday that would make adjustments to the statewide budget, and other bills that have already passed the process.
Earlier in the day, a free conference committee, comprised of members from the Senate and House, passed Senate Bill 95, and amended several times to include adjustments to multiple bills. The bill will now go to Gov. Steve Bullock.
One of those changes would adjust House Bill 650, or what has been referred to as the “Ferrari tax.” The amendment would implement a set tax of $825 instead of a percentage tax on newer vehicles that cost more than $150,000, and $800 for newer motor homes that cost more than $300,000.
Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, supported the amendment Wednesday at the hearing.
“We had a percentage tax on these high-priced vehicles concept prior to negotiations with the industry, they felt this more palatable,” Moore said.
Rep. Randy Brodehl, R-Kalispell, said the Senate tried to put the amendment on the bill, but didn’t have time to properly explore it. Lawmakers, auto dealers and the governor have come to the table to find a compromise, he said.
“I don’t know that anyone was tremendously happy with any of the changes, but we were all probably equally unhappy with it. That makes it a pretty good amendment,” Brodehl said.
Rep. Daniel Zolinkov, R-Billings, did not support the bill during debate in the House. He said conference committees shouldn’t be the way the Legislature does business.
“This is not how we are supposed to act,” Zolinkov said. “We have committee processes, we have an entire process here, this makes that null and void – the entire process becomes null and void.”
Freddy Monares is a reporter with the UM Legislative News Service, a partnership of the University of Montana School of Journalism, the Montana Broadcasters Association and the Greater Montana Foundation.