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Montana lawmakers are considering legislation that would add a tax to fireworks to fund workers compensation coverage for volunteer firefighters.
H.B. 28, introduced by Rep. Dave Fern, D-Whitefish, was heard Tuesday by the Montana House’s taxation committee and proposes imposing a 5% tax on total dollar sales of fireworks sold by wholesalers in the state.
The legislation would require wholesalers to submit to the state’s Department of Revenue their total dollar sales and their 5% tax twice each year by Jan. 30 and Aug. 30, respectively. Fireworks sold on Montana Indian reservations would also be subject to the tax unless a formal appeal is made. Failure to pay the tax, if passed, would result in penalties and interest.
The proposed bill stipulates that the fireworks tax be placed in a special revenue account that would allocate $250,000 annually for assisting local fire agencies in procuring workers comp coverage for volunteer firefighters, with the remainder used for grants for emergency medical and trauma services.
If passed, the provisions of the bill would take effect Oct. 1, 2019.
Montana lawmakers are considering options for the state’s workers compensation system, including dissolving it or turning it into a private entity.