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State House advances plan to simplify taxes

Matt Gouras, Associated Press

HELENA, Mont. (AP) -- The Montana House is backing a plan to simplify state income taxes.

House Bill 581 would reduce the number of different rates and get rid of most credits and deductions. Overall, the measure is expected to reduce state tax collections by as much as $20 million a year.

It was endorsed in a 67-33 initial House vote Thursday, even though it would get rid of tax credits dealing with everything from adoption to energy efficiency. An amendment to the bill would strike some school-choice tax credits Republicans had planned this session.

The chamber on also rejected a separate plan to establish education savings accounts for private schools. And it made it clear there isn't enough support to change the Montana Constitution to establish an oil tax trust fund.