Former Missoula City Councilor’s Bill Would Lower Property Taxes
Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Former Missoula City Councilor Jesse Ramos appeared at a Montana legislative hearing on Thursday to promote a new bill that will help reduce the rapidly increasing property taxes for all Montanans.
Ramos, Ever the Don Quixote of the Missoula City Council, is Still Fighting Taxes
“I just wanted to share with your listening audience that there is an absolutely transformational bill right now in front of the state legislature that is really going to help the folks in Missoula in particular and other major cities with the crushing burden of property taxes,” began Ramos. “It is called Local TABR which is a local Taxpayer Bill of Rights, and what it does is it caps the entire budget of a city.”
Ramos, himself a former Missoula City Councilor, said the way the city propagates new ways to tax its citizens is much like a ‘carnival shell game’.
Ramos Explains what he calls the City of Missoula's 'Shell Game'
“We know the shell game that the cities like to play,” he said. “I'm actually highlighting Missoula in my testimony today. So, great job, Missoula! I am excited to highlight some of the stuff that Missoula has done to skirt the mill levy cap that was put in place by Montana voters in 1986. The mill levy cap limited the growth of the number of mills that can be levied by half the rate of inflation over three years.”
Ramos explained how the bill forces a municipality to live within its means without egregiously overtaxing its citizens.
“What the Local Taxpayer Bill of Rights does is it caps the growth of the entire city budget to the rate of inflation plus the population growth,” he said. “However, in Missoula the budget has grown at about 35 percent faster than the rate of inflation as measured by population plus inflation and about 53 percent faster than the rate of inflation plus and population since 2014.”
Here's How Your Taxes just go Higher an Higher
Ramos explained how the city of Missoula has been able to force its citizens to pay higher and higher taxes.
“Anybody lives in Missoula knows that their tax bill has certainly risen far faster than that,” he said. “The way they do that is by creating a bunch of different special districts. TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is a portion of that. On the city website you can actually see the list of revenue sources that the city of Missoula has, and it has around 2,000 different revenue sources, and that’s anywhere from chicken licenses to cell phone tickets to building permits to adult recreation permits, so you can drink a beer in a city park.”
Click here to see Ramos testify at the Montana Legislature.