Real Tax Relief for all Montanans
You sent me to Washington with a long list of Montana priorities. After about a year in the House, I’m happy to say we’ve accomplished a lot. My bill, the Resilient Federal Forests Act, passed the House with bipartisan support and was the first forest reform bill to pass any chamber of Congress in a decade. We passed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, which rolls back common core and puts more control at the local level. And, we finally lifted the Cold War-era ban on exporting oil – a critical accomplishment for energy growth and national security and a central promise I made to Montana. But one of my biggest accomplishments that impacts every Montanan is providing real tax relief for families, small businesses, farmers and ranchers.
Montana’s farms, ranches, and small businesses are the bedrock of our communities, and working men and women are the heart and soul of Montana. For these families and their businesses to thrive, Congress needs to provide commonsense solutions. Last December, I was the only member of Montana’s Congressional delegation to work across the aisle and vote for a package of tax breaks for Montana families, agriculture and small businesses. These tax cuts will benefit all Montanans because they will allow businesses to grow, innovate and provide financial security to hardworking families across the country.
One of the most important aspects was permanently extending Section 179 tax credits. This tax deduction is critical for small businesses across Montana, especially our ranchers and farmers who must invest in new equipment. You know as well as I do that just because the bank says you’re worth x-amount of dollars, doesn’t mean you have cash laying around to buy a new combine or auger. This permanent reform incentivizes Montanans to invest in their own future, knowing that the tax credit is permanent, rather than reauthorized last-minute or retroactive basis. I have already heard from farmers that they were able to get a new piece of equipment and from equipment suppliers that their businesses were able to grow.
This tax credit package also provided much-needed relief for families struggling to make ends meet and for Montana’s eight sovereign nations. We made the Earned Income Tax credit permanent so families have a little more of their hard-earned money in their pockets. And, it included my provision to extend the Indian Coal Production Tax Credit, which makes it easier and more affordable for the Crow to mine the coal on their own land.
I am proud of these hard-fought victories. But the fight isn’t over. Now it’s time to set our sights on new goals to help Montana thrive. I cosponsored H.R. 1105, the Death Tax Repeal act of 2015. This bill would repeal the estate tax, which jeopardizes the future of Montana family farms and ranches and thousands more of small family-run businesses. This is not a leisure class. These are hardworking Americans who spent their whole life – generations - building their future only to see it threatened. This tax punishes Americans who worked hard, played by the rules, and just want to pass that legacy on to their children. The death tax is a tax on the American Dream. This bill passed the House with strong bipartisan support. Now it’s time for the Senate to take up my bill and provide this much-needed relief for Montana families.
From the farmer to the single working mom to the Crow coal miner, these folks are the heart of our state. I am proud to have been able to work with my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to deliver real tax relief to Montanans from every walk of life. I can’t remember where I heard it first, but everyone seems to know this saying: Montana is just one small town with really long roads. I couldn’t agree more. We are all in this together and we all do better when we prosper.
Ryan Zinke is the Republican congressman for Montana’s at-large congressional district.