The Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research will begin conducting its annual economic outlook seminar this month. The outlook will provide information about the strengths and challenges facing the Montana Economy in 2016. According to Bureau director Patrick Barkey, this year’s seminar will also focus on the issue of property taxes.

"Most things, which are measured in dollars go up overtime, mostly because of inflation, but in the case of property taxes, property tax bills in most parts of Montana have gone up faster than income," Barkey said. "That means that they are a little more burdensome for folks around the state to pay."

Property taxes can vary wildly from place to place in Montana and some places’ like the city of Missoula ‘have had higher than average property taxes for many years. One of the issues the seminar will examine is how high and low property taxes influence the size of the tax base.

"The communities which have been the most successful at growing their tax base, have been the ones that have seen less growth in property taxes," Barkey said. "The one that stands out on that score has been Gallatin County and Bozeman, which has done a little bit better than most of the state at growing the base."

The seminar will tour through nine Montana cities and will be in Missoula on January 29th at the Hilton Garden Inn.  Here is a full list of times and dates. More information can be found at bber.umt.edu.

The seminar runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The full schedule follows:
· Helena: Tuesday, Jan. 26, Best Western Great Northern Hotel
· Great Falls: Wednesday, Jan. 27, Hilton Garden Inn
· Missoula: Friday, Jan. 29, Hilton Garden Inn
· Billings: Tuesday, Feb. 2, Northern Hotel
· Bozeman: Wednesday, Feb. 3, The Commons at Baxter and Love
· Butte: Thursday, Feb. 4, NorthWestern Energy Butte general office
· Kalispell: Friday, Feb. 12, Hilton Garden Inn
· Lewistown: Tuesday, March 15, Central Montana Education Center
· Havre: Wednesday, March 16, MSU-Northern, Hensler Auditorium