Thursday, May 23, 2024

Property taxes

| July 11, 2023 7:00 AM

Sen. Greg Hertz is a ranking member of the supermajority Republican Montana Legislature and he accurately outlined the complex property appraisal process in Montana.

What he did not address is why, with control of the governorship and both the House and Senate, this Legislature did not address the tax inequities we face here in Montana.

We rely heavily on property taxes to fund state and local government, a balanced tax package would be equal parts of income, property and sales taxes.

With the supermajority the Republicans enjoyed, it seems incredible it did not work to balance our tax package and discuss a state sales tax measure Past Republican leaders have led the cry for a sales tax in this state to capture tax revenues from the millions of out-of-state tourists who visit Montana every year.

Why not now?

Democrats in the past have worked to strike down sales tax proposals contending they fall unfairly on the working class. Maybe so, but sales tax measures can be drawn to be progressive by excluding food and medicine and other such necessities.

Our heavy dependence on property taxes is regressive. Property owners pass those taxes on to their low and middle-income renters, and to their retail customers. The result? Higher rents and prices for goods and services.

Shame on the Republican-controlled Legislature.

Don Larson, Polson