Bills Address Local Voter-Approved Property Taxes

HELENA, Mont.— Three bills giving voters more opportunity to weigh in on property taxes will be heard in the Senate Taxation Committee tomorrow morning.

Senate Bills 251, 291, and 292 work together to ensure voters clearly approve of local bonds and mill levies that raise their property taxes. All three bills are sponsored by Sen. Greg Hertz, R-Polson, who chairs the Senate Tax Committee.

Senate Bill 251 would sunset some existing local tax levies without re-approval from voters. Senate Bills 291 and 292 would require voter turnout to meet certain thresholds in order to approve new taxes. The bills do not apply to local taxes that fund essential services like public safety.

“High property taxes are one of the top concerns we consistently hear from constituents, but property taxes are primarily a local government issue and many have been put into place by voters themselves,” Hertz said. “These bills are meant to do two things: give voters another opportunity to decide if they want those property taxes to remain in place, and ensure that going forward, new optional bonds and levies aren’t put into place without clear approval from local voters.”

“Property taxes are a local government issue, but giving voters more of a say on those property taxes is one thing we can do at the Legislature and that’s what these bills are intended to do,” Hertz added.


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