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Snow falls on the Montana State Capitol

A bill to reduce state taxes on Social Security income is moving through the Montana Legislature.

The bill would exempt from taxes the first $30,000 in Social Security income for a single person and $60,000 for a couple.

The Senate passed the bill 31-19 in late February and the House endorsed it 61-39 on second reading Monday. The current exemptions of $25,000 for an individual and $32,000 for a couple were set in 1983 and have not been adjusted for inflation.

The bill also cleared the House Appropriations committee on a 12-10 vote Thursday. A fiscal note estimates the proposal could save Montana seniors a combined $16 million a year starting in July 2020, with that number increasing as the state's population ages.

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Supporters say the tax reduction would help seniors better afford their increasing property taxes. Opponents worry about losing the money from the state budget.

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