This sales tax makes sense

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I will fully admit I知 not fan of sales taxes. When I moved to Montana some 22 years ago, I came from outside Buffalo, New York, where we had sales tax, property tax, income tax and a 10 cent per quart tax on motor oil, in addition to a hefty gas tax.

The oil tax was later dropped, but it gave me another reason to hate then Gov. Mario Cuomo, who once famously told an environmentalist who was protesting a nuclear waste dump, which would have been not far from my house, 的致e heard your argument, and I知 not impressed.

I lived in a rural parts of the state all of my life, but even there, the mafioso lurked. There was always some sort of graft going on, which made it fun to write about. I had more than a few friends whose last name ended in a vowel and meanness was an art form. I once wrote a story about a woman who drove headlong into a tractor trailer truck on dry pavement in the middle of the day. She was the wife of a reputed boss and the editor took my name off the story when I revealed (shock!) her death was a suicide.

But the family later leaned on the state police and Voila! The word 都uicide was expunged from her death certificate.

But this isn稚 about crime bosses or low-level criminals, I mean, um, construction companies. It痴 about sales tax or in our case, a resort tax.

It was refreshing to move to Montana, buy a six-pack of beer for 3 bucks and actually pay 3 bucks.

But times have changed. We have a growing city and property taxes are up, as land values are up and we致e just voted in a new school bond. As a result, my house taxes are just shy of $4,000 a year.

That痴 why the city痴 resort tax makes perfect sense. For one, it痴 very narrow in scope taxing pretty much just the sin items and rentals, while leaving the staples alone.

City leaders say the 3 percent tax will generate about $450,000 annually enough to pay for a couple of full-time firefighters and more police, while also boosting funding for city streets, some of which are in dire shape.

Plus I壇 get a small, but appreciated property tax rebate, something that never happened back East.

Make no mistake, we definitely need at least a few paid firefighters. We simply can稚 ask volunteers to go to more than 300 calls a year. In the summer months, there are times when they池e on two or three wrecks a day.

The alternative to the resort tax would be a public safety levy, which would costs a homeowner like myself more than 200 bucks a year. I知 sorry, but I知 just about property taxed out.

For that reason alone, I support the resort tax.

Chris Peterson is the editor of the Hungry Horse News.

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