Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The increase in local property taxes can be laid at the feet of leaders of local municipalities due to their uncontrolled spending.

That’s the message from Montana Governor Greg Gianforte who appeared on the KGVO Talk Back show on Thursday, who said reforms are necessary to force local governments to live within their means.

Gianforte Laid the Blame for High Property Taxes on Local Governments

“The spending is the problem because they have to raise taxes to satisfy their appetite for spending,” he said. “There was a piece of legislation this last session that would have kept increases in total spending to closer to population growth plus inflation. We've got to reform our system to bring greater transparency and accountability and responsibility to local spending because that is the root of the issue. These property taxes do not come to the state they go to the local municipality.”

Gianforte expanded on the responsibility of local governments to rein in extravagant spending.

Gianforte said Higher Property Taxes are due to 'Extravagant Spending'

“In addition to the rebates in this last legislature, we put $120 million into permanent property tax relief,” he said. “That's going to affect every renter in the state and every homeowner, but there's more we need to do. There are some municipalities, and frankly, Missoula County is one of them, where their local spending has grown much faster than population and inflation. We need to look at additional long term reforms to keep property taxes down.”

Gianforte also decried district court rulings that have helped to overturn the will of the people through their state legislature.

Gianforte Wants more Conservatives on the Montana Supreme Court

“We had 16 years of governors from another party and a lot of bills got vetoed, good conservative legislation that would have made sense for Montana,” he said. “They just threw it in the trash can. Now with me in the position, we're signing these conservative bills and we're protecting individual freedoms. We're pushing back on the federal government. But now the (Montana) Supreme Court is on the vanguard of activism trying to overturn the work of the legislature.”

Gianforte responded to a caller who called attention to the upcoming Montana Supreme Court election.

“We have a number of bills that have been challenged in court hoping that these activists are going to override the legislature and just have their will, and this is why you're absolutely right,” he said. “This is why the Supreme Court elections are so important. I would just encourage everybody to take the Supreme Court races seriously, we're going to have to gear up for the election in 2024.”

Gianforte is continuing his second 56-county tour of Montana, stopping in small towns and larger cities to have conversations with citizens.

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