HELENA, Mont. -

The Montana Senate is backing a one-time income tax cut of $47 million.
    
Senate Bill 394 was endorsed Thursday in a 26-24 initial vote. Supporters said the tax cut needs to be considered as lawmakers begin to weigh budget priorities.
    
Senate Majority Leader Art Wittich argued that some of the surplus needs to be sent to taxpayers.
    
But Democrats argue the 5 percent across-the-board reduction provides too much benefit to the wealthy, and very little for average residents. They said they preferred other stalled measures to return tax money, such as the $400-per-homeonwer rebate sought by Gov. Steve Bullock.
    
The main budget bill was being debated in a Senate panel.
    
The full Senate was preparing to give final approval to expand Medicaid to the working poor with federal money.