The Roundup -

Staffanson Works Hard in Legislature to Benefit Area


Representative Scott Staffanson, of House District 35, has made it easier for farmers and ranchers to utilize tax exempt fuel for the purpose of agricultural purposes.

Introducing House Bill 466, Staffanson successfully proposed a bill in the legislature that would allow farmers and ranchers to estimate the usage of their fuel for agriculture compared to other use, and receive a refund. As the bill was written and eventually passed and signed into law, farmers or ranchers can provide a receipt of purchase from a diesel fuel pump with a credit or debit card as evidence of purchase and receive a refund for tax paid during that transaction, so long as the location of that purchase is no more than fifty miles away from the tax-payer’s agricultural operation.

Those who qualify for tax exemption for agriculture fuel may now give an estimate of how much fuel was used for highway use or agriculture use, and receive a refund for that percentage of taxation, up to 60 percent. Staffanson’s bill amended Section 15-70-430 of Montana’s Law Code, which previously did not allow for evidence of fuel purchase to be provided via receipt of debit or credit card.

The effective date for the legislation is January 1, 2018.

Speaking of the legislative session, Staffanson told the Roundup, “I don’t think the Republicans held together to cut enough from our budget. We’ve implemented programs, we’ve raised fees on vehicles (although we were able to narrow it down to necessary expenses, cutting out pork from the bill), and so on. Regardless, we were able to accomplish a few good things.”

Staffanson continued, “My bill to modernize things in regard to buying tax-exempt diesel fuel was a good start. It’s always good to help the agricultural community, and help the people who deserve it.”

Explaining the legislation, Staffanson said, “We basically just modernized the process so that someone can use a receipt from a diesel fuel pump to receive a tax refund on taxes spent for exempt purposes. As long as you’re within 50 miles of your agricultural operation.”

Staffanson also lamented the failure of House Bill 8, of which he says, “It was designed to borrow money from the coal trust to help fund rural water projects, including several in our local area. A similar bill is passed nearly every session. I’m very sorry to have seen it defeated this time around, especially while Speaker Knudsen and others worked so hard for it. Democrats locked up against it because they wanted a bonding bill that would have paid for Romney Hall and various other projects in the western part of the state. Western Montana didn’t get what they wanted, so we didn’t get what we needed.”

There were other bills as well that Staffanson wishes would have been passed, saying, “Our opponents also defeated several bills designed to give landlords more legal authority to evict non-paying tenets, as well as two good bills protecting the sanctity of life and several laws reinforcing our Second Amendment rights. It was disappointing to watch.”


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