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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Montana’s Hard Right Turn


Budgets, combined with tax policy, provide rich evidence of the applied values of legislative bodies and executives. This paper evaluates budget and tax legislation in Montana that resulted from the 67th legislative session in 2021 that set policy for the 2023 biennium. Montana, whose political complexation has long been purple, moved unambiguously red in the elections of November 2020. This paper speaks to how this changed things in Montana's public policy, in the areas of budget and tax, and a series of other policy areas. One of the more notable findings is that while budget and tax certainly shifted right with the dominance of the Republican Party that itself has moved further right than where it was as recently as 2019, it did not move as far right as many observers had anticipated. The explanation provided here is that this was largely a result of the large infusion of federal COVID relief funds.

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