Although the City of Missoula has worked to keep property tax burdens low, a one-legged stool will inevitably fall over as the weight on it begins to grow and shift. The last forty years have seen a dramatic shift away from commercial and industrial properties bearing the brunt of the property tax burden to residential property owners. Without bold action, a solution will be imposed on Missoulians, and it will likely not meet with their approval. Likewise, any locally-crafted solutions need to be inclusive and receive broad community support in order to avoid being canceled out during the next legislative session. I believe that special districts may present some such opportunities, but they will take broad community engagement and understanding. I also believe that such community dialogue could lead to unique solutions that may not have been previously considered. Finally, Missoula needs to work with the legislature to develop and implement broader relief for residential property taxpayers, particularly considering the state has a billion-dollar revenue surplus.
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