Concerns raised over fairness of Montana school tax credit program

Holly Michels

Some legislators earlier this week raised concerns about the equity of a school tax credit program the state Legislature dramatically expanded earlier this year.

In April, lawmakers passed a bill that increased the amount a person could claim as a tax credit by either donating to a public school or to a scholarship program for public or private schools. The cap went from $150 to $200,000.

A provision in the updated law also gives donors greater control over where their money goes if given to public schools. That, along with a $1 million cap on donations in the 2022 tax year, has some lawmakers worried larger districts could dominate contributions. The law passed on mostly party-line votes, with Republican support and Democratic opposition.

“The concern is that the folks that might donate to this might be in those larger school districts like Kalispell and … some of the larger areas and that some of the smaller schools might not be able to take advantage of this to the level that might happen in some of the larger school districts,” said Sen. Jill Cohenour, an East Helena Democrat who heads the interim revenue committee. “That’s where the disparity might

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