Action Needed: Earned Income Tax Credit, Tobacco Tax, and the ACA

This post was written by our Program Director, Micah Nielsen. If you want to join us in engaging thousands of women and allies across the state during the 2017 Montana Legislative Session and beyond, visit our website and click“Volunteer!”

There’s a lot happening in the halls of the Capitol this week — and we need your help! If you have questions, want to write a letter to the editor about any of these issues, need help finding your legislator, or want to get more involved, contact me at Micah@MontanaWomenVote.Org.

HB 391 — Montana Earned Income Tax Credit

HB 391, which would create a state Earned Income Tax Credit, is moving forward with a hearing on Friday morning in the Senate Taxation Committee at 9:00am. HB 391 creates a state credit equal to 3% of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that would help working families make ends meet.

The Earned Income Tax Credit will support working families and boost local economies. The federal EITC program has been one of the most effective anti-poverty programs in history, and a state-level credit could provide the same benefits to Montana families.

You can learn more about the EITC from our friends at the Montana Budget and Policy Center here.

Please call and leave a message supporting HB 391 for your legislator and the entire Senate Taxation Committee! 406–444–4800. You can also leave a message online by clicking here.

SB 354 -the SAVE Act, a tobacco tax, has passed the Senate and we need your help in the House!

Please act now to protect services, help workers, and improve public health.

The SAVE Act will raise the cigarette tax by $1.50 per pack. Increasing the tobacco tax will decrease harmful and expensive tobacco use in the state while raising much-needed revenue to fund vital health programs and services that are still under threat of devastating cuts by the legislature.

The SAVE Act also provides a much-needed wage increase for direct care workers who dedicate their lives to assisting seniors and people with disabilities with everything from meal preparation and going to the bathroom to medication assistance and transportation to doctor appointments. We know that right now, too many of these dedicated workers could make higher wages in other industries- this is simply unacceptable.

The multi-billion dollar tobacco industry is working overtime to kill this bill because they know it will help people quit smoking, save lives, save money, save services, and support a much-needed raise for low-wage healthcare workers. We need your help to keep this important legislation alive.

Please take a couple of minutes to contact members of the House Tax Committee by calling ((406) 444–4800) or leaving an online message. You can select an option to leave a message for the entire House Tax Committee.

Tell your legislator and the House Tax Committee to pass Senate Bill 354 to improve the health of Montanans, support healthcare workers, and protect services for seniors and people with disabilities.

If you work and live in an area represented by a legislator on House Tax, please reach out to them individually. Every vote on this committee will matter, and your voice could make the difference. The individual members of the House Tax Committee are:

Rep. JEFF ESSMANN (R) (Billings)

Rep. RON EHLI (R) (Hamilton)

Rep. ZACH BROWN (D) (Bozeman)

Rep. JIM HAMILTON (D) (Bozeman)

Rep. ALAN REDFIELD (R) (Livingston)

Rep. KERRY WHITE (R) (Bozeman)

Rep. WYLIE GALT (R) (Martinsdale)

Rep. KIM ABBOTT (D) (Helena)

Rep. BECKY BEARD (R) (Elliston)

Rep. MARY ANN DUNWELL (D) (Helena)

Rep. KELLY FLYNN (R) (Townsend)

Rep. DAVE FERN (D) (Whitefish)

Rep. GREG HERTZ (R) (Polson)

Rep. GEORGE KIPP III (D) (Heart Butte)

Rep. STEVE LAVIN (R) (Kalispell)

Rep. TOM JACOBSON (D) (Great Falls)

Rep. JAMES O’HARA (R) (Fort Benton)

Rep. ADAM HERTZ (R) (Missoula)

Rep. TOM WELCH (R) (Dillon)

Rep. BRIDGET SMITH (D) (Wolf Point)

TAKE ACTION to defend the Affordable Care Act

We are facing an incredibly serious threat to access to healthcare for millions of Americans and over 142,000 Montanans. This threatens coverage for everyone — working families, children, seniors, people with disabilities — everyone who today or in the future will rely on Medicare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act.

Wondering what the next attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act could look like? The White House has offered a deal to let states gut any protections for folks with pre-existing conditions- an “essential health benefit”. This means that insurance companies would have to provide plans for sick people, but those plans wouldn’t be required to cover anything those folks need. Insurance providers would have to accept a cancer patient, but not cover cancer drugs or hospital stays.

Senator Tester and Senator Daines need to keep hearing from all of us. Please take a minute to call and voice your support for Medicaid and the ACA, and demand that Congress stops their effort to repeal vital provisions of the ACA that provide much-needed health care access to thousands of Montanans.

Senator Tester: (202) 224–2644
Senator Daines: (202) 224–2651

This threat is very real, lives depend on this decision, and we need to act now. Please take two minutes to call Senator Tester and Senator Daines.

If you want to volunteer, write a letter to the editor, or get more involved, contact Micah at or 406–317–1504.

In solidarity,

Micah Nielsen
Program Director