Gov. Steve Bullock on Thursday weighed in on efforts in Congress to pass a tax reform bill, a measure that has divided Montana’s top elected officials.
The U.S. House has already passed its version of the bill and the Senate could follow as early as this week, though Montana’s governor stands opposed to both versions.
“Republicans in Congress are increasing the national debt to give huge tax breaks to corporations and the very wealthy, leaving the rest of us with table scraps,” Bullock said in a statement. “This isn’t tax reform, it’s a tax scam that hurts workers and families.”
While Sen. Jon Tester, D-Montana, has said he’s not opposed to tax reform, he stands opposed to the bill presented by the House and Senate, saying it doesn’t do enough to help the middle class and small businesses.
Tester sees the GOP’s current proposal as an irresponsible one, saying it would add an estimated $1.5 trillion to the national debt while serving to pad the pockets of the 1 percent.
“This tax proposal that’s been put out, it far and away helps the wealthiest of the wealthy,” Tester said. “We need to undertake a tax reform package that really does give benefits to small businesses and working families without increasing the debt.”
Republican Sen. Steve Daines, however, has reemerged as a supporter of the Senate bill after expressing concern over the measure and its treatment of Main Street businesses.
Daines said the new version of the bill gives small businesses a 20 percent deduction on income, enough to satisfy his concerns.
“I’ve seen enough progress to vote yes to move the debate forward,” he said.
In expressing his opposition to the bill, Bullock said he has cut Montana’s business equipment tax for small businesses and put more money in the pockets of workers and families by successfully passing the state’s first-ever Earned Income Tax Credit.