House moves forward with scaled-back fuel tax proposal
The Montana House acquiesced Friday to a scaled-down version of a fuel tax package that would raise about $30 million a year — and many millions of dollars more in matching federal money — to repave cracked highways, reinforce weakened bridges and complete other roadwork.
The initial approval came as lawmakers and the governor’s office continued to work out deals over a state budget and an elusive infrastructure package in the waning days of the legislative session.
The issue of taxes, fees and other revenue enhancers are a perennial sticking point during the legislative session. And as the session draws to a close, about two dozen legislative proposals that would increase the state’s revenues remain unresolved.
When it came to the fuel tax, fiscal and political pragmatists prevailed over ideological purists who objected to the tax hike on gasoline and diesel, despite the Senate’s move to reduce the increases.
But even some of the chamber’s most rigid fiscal conservatives bent toward compromise.