The Montana state senate backed a onetime 5% income tax cut after the bill’s second reading in Helena Thursday.
Senate Bill 394 would cost the state an estimated $47-million, which Republican Majority Leader Art Wittich said during the hearing would come from the state’s $500 million budget surplus.
Wittich argued some of the state's surplus needs to be sent back to tax payers.
"You have to ask yourself, who's money is it? Who's money is the $500 million sitting in our bank account?" said Wittich.
Democrat Dick Barrett argued against the bill, saying it gives too much benefit to the wealthy, and little for average taxpayers.
"It exacerbates the tendency towards inequality. I don't think that's the kind of formula for tax relief that we want," said Barrett.