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More thoughts on reval

| July 19, 2023 2:00 AM

Las Vegas card sharks, Mississippi Riverboat gamblers, and Churchill Downs handicappers are pleased that Governor Gianforte and Montana’s Republican legislators pulled a fast one on Montana homeowners in the 2023 session.

Earlier this year, they permanently raised state residential property taxes by 43 percent – $81 million a year, and $162 million over the two-year state budget cycle. Then they pocketed our money. (Just look at your residential property appraisal notice – your home’s value and taxes are soaring as your spirits are sinking.)

These GOP folks also shifted more of the property tax burden to us – homeowners – and away from big corporations. They’ve been doing that for a while.

They squandered a $2.5-billion budget surplus, courtesy of the federal government, and said they’d hand out temporary tax rebates that Montana homeowners need to wrangle through a complicated state computer system. (Imagine your grandmother working that app: “Grandma, I can’t help you right now. I’m trying to get online to apply for my own rebate before it expires! Go down to the senior center, would ya.”)

And now they’re blaming local governments for this massive state property tax hike.

Voila!

This tax hike comes from a political party that says it stands for less government and lower taxes. But they did the opposite – expanded government and permanently raised your property taxes.

Republican legislative supermajority hocus-pocus. It’s a summer blockbuster made-in-Helana movie tearing up the cineplex called Big Sky Tax Outcry.

Montanans, meanwhile, are attending Revenue Department meetings and howling in protest, wondering who raised their state property taxes. (Inside tip: bet on Gianforte and legislative supermajority. A Revenue Department official even admitted on a Zoom call the state raised property taxes $81 million.)

With fair season here, you can bet these folks won’t be on midways hawking their snake oil because Montanans know who permanently raised their state property taxes and then tried to hand out one-time rebates and say they lowered your taxes.

These days, you really can’t believe what you read, see and hear. But if you look at your property appraisal from Gianforte’s Revenue Department, you’ll see the numbers rocketing into the Big Sky.

You know what that means – hold onto your wallets, because these folks will pick it while playing the shell game called the Property Tax Shuffle.

But don’t hand your hard-earned money to them. Raise your voice, and don’t let ‘em raise your taxes.

Some Montana Democrats are fighting for homeowners. They want to call a one-day special session to do what the governor and GOP legislators should have done when they were warned last year that property appraisals – and state property taxes – would skyrocket.

These Democrats would cut the state residential property tax rate from 1.35 percent to 0.94 percent and totally negate the GOP state property tax increase.

Simple.

Let’s see who fights for Montana homeowners, many of whom are fighting for their lives to live and work in this great state.

See you at the State Fair’s GOP Tax Dunking Booth. Step right up!

Bill Lombardi

Seeley Lake