Thursday, July 25, 2024

Where will the additional tax funds go?

by Mike McGinley
| November 28, 2023 12:00 AM

To Gov. Greg Gianforte,

I appreciated my time spent on this 95 mill property tax issue with you, the Department of Revenue and the lobbyist for the school organizations.  

I am disappointed with the Montana Supreme Court ruling but will abide with it. The educational value of researching and understanding how the school, local government and state school funding is calculated on a tax bill was worth the effort.

But governor, in your press statement on this ruling you stated that you are committed to long-term reform “including holding the line on local spending that drives property tax increases.”

You and the ruling just ordered the commissioners of Beaverhead County to levy an additional  $602,677 on the taxpayers of Beaverhead County. Forty-nine of the 56 counties across Montana fought hard to control property tax increases this year, only to be challenged by you and your Department of Revenue to levy an additional $78,774,449 on a statewide level. So much for driving property tax increases.

Beaverhead County taxpayers need to know that:

• Beaverhead Coounty assessed 19.65 mills less than last year.

• City of Dillon       assessed 24.14  mills less than last year.

• School District #10  assessed  29.67 mills less than last year.

• Beaverhead County High School                      assessed 17.10  mills less than last year.

This was all done by local government trying to control the increase of property taxes by following state law.

 In addition, the agencies in Beaverhead County that have voted mill authority, the boards of those agencies decided not to levy the full amount this year because of the extreme increases that we are seeing now.  

These decisions kept $348,355 off of the current year tax bills. In Beaverhead County, all levied mills are less than last year. Now, the only line on the tax that will remain the same is the first line called state school levy.

This is where $600,000 of Beaverhead County property tax dollars will go. This will increase revenue to the state by 34% over last year, almost $99,000,000 statewide.

One final question that needs to be researched: Did the local school districts just receive a $99 million windfall statewide?

When your local school board replies no, does that mean the $99 million really goes into  the state General Fund?

Mike McGinley is a Beaverhead County commissioner.