Thursday, September 28, 2023

More property tax consternation

| July 11, 2023 7:00 AM

To the Editor and All Property Taxpayers of Lincoln County,

I have heard from many people about the property tax reappraisals that recently came in the mail after we got this slick little red, white and blue postcard “from Governor Gianforte.”

The postcard told us we could apply for a property tax rebate of UP TO $675. I would bet with the reappraisal that your taxes went up way more than the rebate amount. MINE DID!!!

Prior to this last legislative session, the Department of Revenue made clear to both Governor Gianforte and the legislature that property appraisals went up 47% and unless they took action, property taxes would increase by a substantial amount.

Instead of taking action to avoid this huge tax increase and provide relief, they spent much of the state surplus on the “tax rebate” that is a ONE time, and you have to apply for.

Be sure to note that the appraisal and increase notice came from the state and not the county. Local governments by state law, can only raise taxes by a small amount each year unless voters approve the increase.

All that surplus that is raised by our tax increase goes to the state to be spent however they want.

It's not too late to avoid that increase, but it will take work from the Republican Legislature and Governor Gianforte.

Former Governor Brian Sweitzer has called on them to admit that they made a mistake in raising your taxes. They need to call a one-day special session that will pass a bill that they have worked on with the Department of Revenue to stop the increase.

Make no mistake, the tax increase is permanent and the rebate is ONE TIME ONLY. There are programs that could use the state surplus to help people.

The surplus generated by the property tax increase will not be used for that, it’s pork for whatever reason they want.

Be sure to apply for the rebate and ask Governor Gianforte and the legislature to do the right thing. The blame for this increase is on their shoulders. They can if they have the political will.

When I served in the legislature, we had special sessions to fix problems and avoid catastrophic happenings. It is possible if they walk their talk.



Paula Darko-Hensler

Former State Representative