Missoula elected officials say high property taxes are just “what happens”
When our communities grow – expanding our tax base, bringing in new businesses and customers – it’s a blessing.
“Either immediately or ultimately, every dollar of government spending must be raised through a dollar of taxation.” – Henry Hazlitt
The Missoula Mayor with several County and City Council members penned an op-ed last week deflecting blame for the crushing burden of property taxes Missoula citizens are experiencing.
Sidestepping any culpability for the issue, the writers said high property taxes are just “what happens in vibrant, growing communities,” pointing to rising property values and legislative efforts which prevent local governments from implementing sales taxes as the reason for higher taxation.
I am astounded by this wildly irresponsible column from our elected officials. Pay no mind to how much our local government is spending they say, everyone else is to blame.
The fact is, there are no taxes without spending. When property values rise or the tax base expands in growing cities like Missoula, the city doesn’t HAVE to spend all the additional revenue. Prudent budget policy would be controlling the growth of spending – taking enough to meet the community’s needs then returning any additional revenue to citizens in the form of tax breaks. But in places like Missoula, our governments spend any taxpayer dollars they can get their hands on.
When our communities grow – expanding our tax base, bringing in new businesses and customers – it’s a blessing. This blessing should allow for the burden of financing government to be spread out among more taxpayers. But governments squander this with irresponsible spending.
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- The City of Helena gathered stakeholders together to assess the availability of affordable housing in the city:
“Helena Housing Authority executive director Michael O’Neil said the community probably needs about three times the inventory of affordable housing it currently has.”
Not once in the article about the meeting was there mention of reforming zoning and building codes. Research shows clearly that these types of regulations have substantial effects on the price of homes. There is ample opportunity to streamline rulebooks and eliminate needless regulations that hold up affordable housing development. And these reforms wouldn’t cost taxpayers a penny!
- Access to child care has been a rising topic, with a recent report highlighting Montana’s severe shortages of affordable options for childcare.
Most of the dialogue in the media on affordable childcare has been about funding – expanding tax credits, subsidies, and programs. But burdensome regulations that hinder childcare businesses are also a major factor. Let’s talk more about breaking down government barriers to affordable childcare before jumping to spend taxpayer dollars.
- Frontier Institute’s success repealing Montana’s Certificate of Need laws was highlighted in a recent roundup of national healthcare reform.
“While the Biden administration doubles down on a bureaucratic, government-controlled approach to health care, states are empowering patients and doctors by permanently repealing portions, if not all, of our CON laws.”