Posted: Mar 28, 2013 2:06 PM by Marnee Banks - MTN News
HELENA - A bill that attempts to address the long term impacts of oil and gas development in Montana has cleared a critical vote in the House.
In a 53 to 47 vote, legislators voted to create an oil and gas trust fund on Thursday.
The account would direct oil and gas taxes into a special bank account that would earn interest. Then, in upcoming legislative sessions, lawmakers could decide how to spend the money.
Rep. Tom Jacobson (D - Great Falls) say it's a great way to use money from a boom and bust industry
"What this does is set money aside, makes us fiscally responsible, fiduciary prudent and puts money ahead for us for the future," Jacobson argued on the floor.
Rep. Greg Hertz (R - Polson) says oil and gas companies already pay too much in taxes and creating this trust account further solidifies their tax rates.
"Montana should not be in the business of overcharging our taxpayers and then taking taxes and putting them in a savings account," Hertz testified against the bill.
The bill needs 100 votes between both the House and Senate in order to pass. Then the proposal would go on the November ballot.