Gianforte announces state task force on rising property taxes

Helenans see sharp increase in assessed and taxable values of properties
Posted at 2:57 PM, Dec 05, 2023

HELENA — Rising property taxes have been one of the biggest topics of discussion across Montana for months, and Gov. Greg Gianforte has announced he will create a state task force to address the issue.

Gianforte made the announcement Tuesday, saying the housing task force he started last year showed a model that can deliver results.

“Leading legislators in tax policy, stakeholders, and others will be at the table,” he said in a statement. “They’ll leave no stone unturned to bring down property taxes, including providing solutions to reform the appraisal system, increase Montanans’ participation in mill levy elections, and rein in local spending, which is the primary driver of increased property taxes.”

Gianforte said he will name the task force members and their objectives in January.

Property taxes came to the forefront as many homeowners received word of sharp increases in their property’s taxable value. Since then, the Montana Supreme Court ruled against a legal effort by counties to reduce the increase in the share of property taxes set by the state.

Additionally, Montana lawmakers are currently voting on whether to hold a special session on tax-related proposals, including two measures that would limit those property taxes. The deadline for them to return their ballots is Dec. 29.

During this year’s legislative session, lawmakers approved tax rebates, including up to $675 both this year and next year on property taxes on a primary residence. The Gianforte administration has said those rebates will cover the increase in property taxes for the average Montana homeowner.

“While these property tax rebates will help in the short term, we need long-term reforms to keep property taxes as low as possible, and we must be deliberate and thoughtful as we develop, enact, and implement those solutions,” Gianforte said. “Our property tax task force will deliver an actionable plan to rein in property taxes for legislators to consider for their next regular session in January 2025.”