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Smith Votes Against Special Session

Smith Votes Against Special Session
Rep. Frank Smith
Smith Votes Against Special Session
Rep. Frank Smith

House Rep. Frank Smith is one state legislator who will not vote for a special session to occur this fall.

“I’m refusing because that’s $40,000 we can’t afford,” the House District 31 Democrat said.

At least some state legislators, mainly Republicans, are seeking a special session to return some of the state’s $1.5 billion estimated budget surplus to taxpayers and also reduce bonded debt.

A simple majority of legislators are needed to approve having a special session take place. Tentative starting date is Sept. 29. Republicans have a 66-33 majority in the House.

“I expect we will have a special session and get nothing done but spend money,” Smith said. “I call them not so special sessions.”

One proposal being promoted by some legislators is sending rebates of $1,000 to Montana resident homeowners, up to $1,250 for individual taxpayers and $2,500 for couples filing jointly.

“I want to hang onto it and put it in next year’s budget,” Smith said of the surplus. “We don’t know how much fires or highways are going to cost us yet.”

The current state budget’s surplus might also be misleading because of federal stimulus funds received by the state.

Smith stressed, “I’m more worried about our future.”

He also is concerned about what other new proposals might be introduced during a potential special session.

“I’ve been to three of these and know what they’re like,” Smith said.

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