The title and purpose of the original legislation is clear, ‘Local Option.’ The original legislation was intended to empower local communities to address specific local needs. State government then and now has encouraged action at the local level, and to limit red tape from State government.
Less red tape is exactly what the local option gas tax does.
The decision of our local voters in 2020 to implement this ‘Local Option’ was absolutely the right thing for our community. And now, almost one year, later our community is starting to realize the results . . . to the tune of nearly $290,000 in the three and a half months the tax has been collected.
Beyond the benefits to homeowners through keeping property taxes from increasing, and the ability to offset the cost of repairs to our roads by the millions of tourists annually, there is the added benefit of additional federal infrastructure funds.
Yes, Missoula was the first across the state to take on this sustainable model for our local community. And now other local communities across the state are working to implement the same. This is one of the strongest examples of red tape elimination legislation that we have today; why change what works?
HB 464 is just one of many pieces of legislation introduced this session that, if passed, will have a significant negative impact on the Missoula economy. State and local government should be working with the private sector to do everything in our control to lift up local businesses and the general economy.
Fair Housing and good roads are basic items in making home ownership available to everyone. If our elected and private sector could put the same amount of time into solving the attainability issues around housing, we would be Montana Strong!
Jim Bachand is the CEO of the Missoula Organization of Realtors.