Montana’s Two Different Tax Realities

Montana’s Two Different Tax Realities

"This excess in spending means taxpayers will have to pick up the difference."

“Instead of protecting taxpayers by putting firm limits on spending growth, some of our major local governments are busy spending record amounts of taxpayer dollars.” – Frontier President & CEO, Kendall Cotton

Montanans are seeing two different realities play out today, one in which some taxes are going up and another in which other taxes are going down. But why is this happening?

Frontier President & CEO, Kendall Cotton explained the situation in his most recent column

During the 2021 Legislative Session, Republicans and Governor Gianforte worked together to secure a Conservative Montana Budget, a budget model we have been strong advocates of. Implementing a budget that grew less than population growth plus inflation has allowed for major taxpayer savings.

“Firm limits on new spending in the state budget made room for historic tax relief, cutting taxes for low and high income Montanans alike. Starting in 2024, tens of thousands of low-income Montana households will be dropped from tax rolls completely, meaning they won’t even have to file income taxes.”

This fiscal responsibility has led to a massive surplus, enabling Gov. Gianforte’s administration to prioritize further “permanent, long-term” tax relief for the upcoming 2023 Legislature. While this is sure to be welcome news in the face of record inflation, the story at the local level isn’t quite as rosy. 

Why? Local governments continue to propose record tax increases due to an unwillingness to limit the growth of spending.

Take for example Missoula, the city’s spending has significantly outpaced population growth plus inflation.

This excess in spending means taxpayers will have to pick up the difference.

Montana’s state government is showing how to make tax relief successful. Local governments need to follow that example. Permanent, long-term tax relief is made possible only through a commitment to spending restraint.

For Liberty,
Tanner Avery

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