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Oelkers To Serve On Tax Task Force

Roosevelt County Gordon Oelkers is one of 23 leaders who Gov. Greg Gianforte announced will serve on a property tax task force to provide recommendations to reform the property tax system and reduce the burden on property taxpayers.

“Property taxes are too high. Our $1,350 property tax rebate helped Montana homeowners last year and will help them again this year,” Gianforte said. “We, however, need thoughtful, deliberate, long-term reforms to keep property taxes as low as possible, because the increasing strain of rising property taxes shouldn’t force Montana homeowners to consider selling the home they’ve owned and lived in for decades.”

“We must protect Montana homeowners from rising property taxes, and I look forward to the work of the Property Tax Task Force to reform our property tax system and arrest the rate of growth of property taxes,” Gianforte said.

The governor created the task force through an executive order, and charged the task force with providing recommendations the legislature could consider and the governor could sign into law to reform the property tax system and restrain property tax growth.

Gianforte appointed Ryan Osmundson, director of the Office of Budget and Program Planning, to chair the task force.

State agency leaders, legislators, local officials, association representatives, economists, researchers, and stakeholders make up the task force. Other embers include: •Sen. Greg Hertz (R-Polson), chair of Senate Taxation Committee, member of Joint Education Committee

•Sen. Tom McGillvray (R-Billings), member of Senate Finance & Claims Committee, member of Appropriations and Finance & Claims Committee

•Sen. Shane Morigeau (D-Missoula), member of Senate Finance & Claims Committee, Joint Education Committee

•Rep. David Bedey (R-Hamilton), chair of Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, member of Joint Education Committee

•Rep. Dave Fern (D-Whitefish), member of House Taxation Committee

•Rep. Llew Jones (R-Conrad), chair of House Appropriations Committee, chair of Joint Appropriations and Finance & Claims Committee

•Brendan Beatty, director of the Montana Department of Revenue

•Manish Bhatt, senior policy analyst with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation

•Kendall Cotton, president and CEO of the Frontier Institute •Errol Galt, commissioner of Meagher County

•Pam Holmquist, commissioner of Flathead County

•Jeremy Horpedahl, Ph.D., associate professor of economics and director of Arkansas Center for Research in Economics at the University of Central Arkansas

•Dwaine Iverson, board member of the Montana Taxpayers Association and CPA

•Cyndi Johnson, president of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation

•Sean Logan, commissioner of City of Helena

•Lance Melton, executive director of the Montana School Boards Association

•Todd O’Hair, president and CEO of the Montana Chamber of Commerce

•Justin Ross, Ph.D., professor of economics and public finance, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University; co-editor-in-chief of Public Budgeting & Finance •Derek “DJ” Smith, president of the Montana Association of Realtors

•Sandra Vasecka, council member of the City of Missoula •Ronda Wiggers, Montana State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business “I’m grateful to each member of the property tax task force for volunteering to dig deep and deliver solutions to reform our property tax system. They’ll each bring a unique perspective to the table, and I look forward to what they’ll accomplish together,” Gianforte said.

The task force will hold its first meeting in February and will produce a written report with recommendations and strategies by Aug. 15.

Property taxes, which are largely a function of local jurisdictions, fund local government services, with approximately 85 percent of property tax revenue from residential homeowners going directly to local jurisdictions and the remaining 15 percent going to the State of Montana which returns the amount in full to help fund K-12 public schools throughout the state.

To reduce the burden of property taxes for Montanans, last spring, the governor delivered Montanans $120 million in permanent, long-term property tax relief and secured up to $1,350 in property tax rebates for Montana homeowners over 2023 and 2024. Taken together, the measures provide the average Montana homeowner with relief that more than offsets his or her property tax increase.

The governor also boosted property tax relief for Montanans with low or fixed incomes.

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