Montana Supreme Court Upholds 95 Mills for School Funding
Last week, the Montana Supreme Court decided for the state of Montana against over 50 counties who stated they would only pay 77.9 mills in order to reduce the burden on residential property taxpayers.
The unanimous 7-0 ruling came quickly by the State’s highest court.
Montana Governor Greg Gianforte provided the following statement on the court’s decision.
The State Supreme Court Quickly Found for the State against the Counties
‘I appreciate the Montana Supreme Court bringing clarity to the law around the 95 public school mills which the state collects and returns in full to school districts. Today’s decision reaffirms what has guided us: we have an obligation, both constitutional and moral, to ensure each Montana child has access to a quality education, and we won’t defund our public schools.
“Ultimately, property taxes are too high. In the short-term, our $1,350 property tax rebate provides the average Montana homeowner with relief that more than offsets property tax increases this year and next. I remain committed to enacting further long-term reforms that keep property taxes as low as possible, including holding the line on local spending that drives property tax increases.’
Those Commenting Included the Governor and the OPI Superintendent
Others commenting to KGVO News included Robyn Driscoll, Chair of the Montana Democratic Party, who said the court’s decision was an indictment of Governor Gianforte and the Republican super majority in the last state legislative session for failing to address property taxes.
“I'm glad that they were able to get that decision out as quickly as they did, and I'm sure that schools across Montana are very appreciative of that as well,” began Driscoll. “But you know, the bottom line is that Governor Gianforte raised homeowners’ state property taxes and county commissioners simply tried to cut the Gianforte property tax increase, but thank goodness the Supreme Court followed the actual code of Montana.”
Superintendent of Public Instruction Elsie Arntzen spoke to KGVO News on Wednesday.
Read the State Supreme Court's Decision by Clicking the Link Below
“I am very thankful that public education will be fully funded,” said Arntzen. “The concern that I have with the ruling is still that property taxes are too high. There is a formula. Like I said there should be no fear factor at all, that any dollar that goes to the state whether it's income tax or property taxes will be used in that funding formula (for public schools).”
The rate suggested by the counties would have reduced the amount of taxes by about $80 million dollars.
The suit decided last week was brought by the Montana Association of Counties and Missoula County Commissioner Dave Strohmaier.
Read the Montana Supreme Court’s decision below.
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