A tax cut for industry to install pollution control and carbon sequestration equipment is good for industry, jobs, and public health.
That’s the message from Governor Steve Bullock during a ceremonial bill signing Wednesday in Billings.
There are three refineries in Yellowstone County.
Bullock says this bill will benefit a key economic sector in the Billings-area, as well as reach statewide.
"House Bill 156 is a key component in ensuring these industries can maintain their facilities with the latest pollution fighting technologies, but also helps ensure that they stay economically viable and don’t go broke doing it."
Bullock says when industry installs this equipment another benefit is clean air and water. He says that addresses climate change and improves public health.
Republican Representative Mike Miller of Helmville is the sponsor of House Bill 156. He adds this is also a matter of fairness.
"It didn’t seem fair to me that the government could mandate you buy something and then tax you on it year after year. You know we all want clean air and water. All of us want that for our kids and our grandkids. It just did not seem right that you get taxed on the equipment that provides that year after year."
Miller had offered a similar bill during the 2013 session. It was vetoed by Bullock. That bill failed to meet the 2/3 majority vote of each house to override that veto.
He says this past session he worked with the Bullock administration, industry and others to come up with a bill they could all support.
Dave Galt of the Montana Petroleum Association says Phillips 66, Exxon-Mobil and CHS in Yellowstone County along with Calumet in Great Falls represents 60% of the manufacturing base in Montana.
"And we’re proud of the work we do," Galt says, "and we’re proud of the revenue and taxes and the jobs we create for the state of MT."
Galt says this bill also extends a tax break to carbon capture technology. That waste carbon dioxide is re-injected into fields in Eastern Montana as part of enhanced oil recovery.
"It’s incentivizing more sequestration and the implementation of carbon sequestration programs. Enhanced oil recovery is one that’s going on, just doing big things down there. It also takes the barriers off for people in moving forward on pollution control equipment."
Galt predicts this tax break will jump start installation of pollution control equipment across a number of industries.
Governor Bullock officially signed House Bill 156 into law on May fifth in Helena. It took effect immediately.
Since the 2015 Legislature officially concluded on April 28th, Bullock has been traveling around Montana for various ceremonial bill signings, like this one at the offices of the Billings-area Chamber of Commerce.