Hill + Sonju = More Taxes

 Montana Democratic Party Executive Director Ted Dick released the following statement in response to Rick Hill‘s running mate announcement:
J.J. Hill & Carl Gray (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

“Republicans need to decide if they think their strongest candidates are a lobbyist-turned-Congressman-turned-lobbyist and a state legislator who has voted six times to raise his pay, despite the fact that his company is making millions off of federal earmarks.  With his record of raising taxes on small businesses and working families and continued support of a sales tax, my guess is that Mr. Hill has his work cut out for him.”

The Montana Democrats elaborated with the following:
Hill Lobbied for $400 Million Sales Tax, $72 Million Income Tax

During the 1993 legislative session, Hill lobbied to pass two measures that would drastically increase taxes on Montanans.  The first measure was a bill to place a $400 million sales tax measure on the ballot.  It was rejected by the voters 75% to 25%.  Hill also lobbied on behalf of a bill that would have increased income taxes by $72 million, but was again rejected by voters. [Billings Gazette State Bureau, 5/23/1996]

Hill Still Supports a Sales Tax

INTERVIEWER: You would support a sales tax as a substitute tax, you would be open to that?

HILL: I would be open to it as a substitute tax. [Voices of Montana, 8/18/2011]

A lot of people have advocated in Montana for a long time that we need three stools to our tax structure; got to have the income tax, the property tax, and the sales tax. I have often been an advocate for sales tax as a substitute. [Hometown Helena, 6/2/2011]

Sonju Votes Six Times To Raise Legislator Compensation Package

In each of the four legislative sessions that Sen. Jon Sonju has served, he has voted for House Bill 1, the “feed bill” that finances the legislative session.  In each session, the legislature has increased the amount of money they reimburse themselves, leading to biannual increases in their pay package.  [HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/12/2005 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/13/2005 Yes; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/12/2007 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/15/2005 No; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/8/2009 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/8/2009 Yes; HB 1, 2nd Reading, 1/22/2011 Yes, 3rd Reading, 1/22/2011 No]

Sonju Lobbies for Millions in Federal Earmarks

“Some Montana companies with longtime Republican ties, however, still support earmarks. Kalispell-based Sonju Industries has teamed with the missile systems division of defense giant Raytheon Co. on a project that has previously received federal funding, and it asked for $8 million again this year. Jon Sonju, an officer of the company and a Republican representative in the Montana Legislature, met with Rehberg staff on the matter before Rehberg announced his earmark moratorium.” [Billings Gazette, 10/23/2010]