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Montana Association of Counties Engages in Heated Dispute with Governor on Property Tax for School Funding

Photo: Commonwealth Foundation

In a brewing property tax dispute in Montana, the Montana Association of Counties has taken a stand against Governor Greg Gianforte’s fixed-rate property tax, which plays a crucial role in equalizing school funding between affluent and disadvantaged districts. This contentious issue has led to months of disagreement between state-level Republicans and local government leaders, with each side pointing fingers at the other for the rising property taxes.

Montana Association of Counties Engages in Heated Dispute with Governor on Property Tax for School Funding (Photo: EdSource)

The Montana Association of Counties Takes a Stand

According to the news featured by Montana Free Press, in September 18, 2023, amidst the ongoing debate over property tax hikes in Montana, the Montana Association of Counties has launched a salvo, urging a reevaluation of the fixed-rate property tax system that seeks to balance school funding across districts. This contentious issue, highlighted in a recent press release by the Montana Association of Counties, singles out Governor Greg Gianforte’s property tax bill. The association contends that Gianforte’s personal property tax on his Helena mansion is set to decrease, contrasting with the broader trend of rising property values pushing taxes higher for many Montana homeowners.

The dispute lays bare the divergent viewpoints between state-level Republicans and local government leaders on who bears responsibility for the property tax burdens. Months of mounting tensions between state-level Republicans and local government officials over escalating property taxes reached a tipping point when the Montana Association of Counties issued a late-night press release on September 13.

The release underscores the association’s position that taxes on Governor Gianforte’s personal residence in Helena’s upscale district will likely decrease in the upcoming year. This reduction comes in stark contrast to the concerns of homeowners facing rising property values and potentially higher taxes. The Montana Association of Counties places the onus on the state’s “95 mills,” emphasizing the need to scale down this tax to alleviate the burden on taxpayers, a viewpoint at odds with the Governor’s stance.

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The Property Tax Debate: Who’s to Blame?

In a recent development published by Flipboard, the property tax debate in Montana Association of Counties evolves around a fundamental question: who is responsible for the relentless upward trajectory of property taxes? While Governor Gianforte and prominent Republicans attribute it to local governments’ budgetary inefficiency, Montana Association of Counties officials argue that they are keeping spending in check. They maintain that the primary culprit is the state’s “95 mills,” which increase proportionally with property values.

The Montana Association of Counties insists that a reduction in this tax is not only warranted but legally mandated, sparking a legal showdown with the Governor’s office. As this dispute unfolds, homeowners grapple with the uncertain future of their property tax bills, and the fate of Montana Association of Counties’ property tax system hangs in the balance.

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