New Task Force Aims To Tackle Rising Property Taxes
Governor Greg Gianforte has initiated a property tax task force to propose reforms aimed at easing the burden on property taxpayers in Montana. Emphasizing the need for long-term solutions, the governor expressed concern over rising property taxes forcing homeowners to contemplate selling their long-held residences.
Appointed by an executive order, the task force, led by Ryan Osmundson, director of the Office of Budget and Program Planning, comprises state agency leaders, legislators, local officials, and various stakeholders. The goal is to provide legislative recommendations to curb property tax growth and implement meaningful reforms to the property tax system.
The task force, set to convene in February, will present a report with recommendations and strategies by August 15, 2024. The governor has outlined specific objectives, including arresting the growth of property taxes, enhancing transparency, increasing public engagement in budgeting, and ensuring support for homeownership and workforce housing.
Property taxes, predominantly managed by local jurisdictions, fund local government services, with the majority directed to local jurisdictions and a portion allocated to the State of Montana for K-12 public schools. Data from the Legislative Fiscal Division indicates a significant divergence between inflation rates and property tax growth rates from 2001 to 2022.
The governor had previously implemented measures to alleviate the property tax burden, including $120 million in long-term relief and $1,350 property tax rebates for homeowners over 2023 and 2024. Additionally, reforms allowed homeowners to spread their property tax payments evenly throughout the year.
The task force aims to address the complexities of property taxes, focusing on protecting vulnerable homeowners, ensuring education quality, and fostering transparency in the system.
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