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Montana’s pandemic-driven real estate boom causes sudden increase in property taxes
By Zoey Sky // Jun 03, 2024

The rural piece of land in Montana that Art Mangels, a retired potato farmer, has lived in for 10 years boasts breathtaking views of snowy peaks, banks of the Big Hole River and acres of grasslands full of wildlife. But in recent months, the land has also come with a hefty property tax bill that is now 35 percent higher compared to 2022.

The spike is one of the consequences of Montana's Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic real estate boom that has transformed the city of Bozeman into what Mangels calls "Bozeangeles."

The pandemic real estate boom is also felt in nearby Beaverhead County, where cows far outnumber people. The fallout is also threatening to cross from personal into political.

Like other longtime residents, Mangels is frustrated with Montana's GOP-dominated legislature and Republican Gov. Greg Gianforte. He explained that while the real estate boom has been beneficial for the rich, who were able to buy up "a lot of acreage, a lot of big ranches," farmers and retired farmers like him, are "getting penalized for it."

Mangel, who runs fishing cabin rentals, is disillusioned because farmers have contributed greatly to the economy for decades. (Related: Farmer protests erupt across Europe over GREEN POLICIES that demand the obliteration of food production.)

Four years after COVID-19 sent remote workers to cheaper housing with beautiful scenery across the Mountain West, long-time residents have paid the cost amid tax hikes driven by the sudden growth in property values.

Even though taxes remain relatively low, the increases have been a shock to homeowners already stressed by higher grocery, gas and insurance prices. According to the Montana Free Press, some counties in the state saw median increases of up to 46 percent.

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The resulting public outcry has concerned the Montana Legislature and resulted in various proposals for a complex problem. Property taxes are a major funding source for local services and serve as a crucial source of revenue due to Montana's lack of a sales tax.

Lawmakers urged to address property tax issues

In Wyoming, the 2024 legislature passed a property tax package that included caps and an expanded rebate program. The Colorado General Assembly also recently slashed residential assessment rates as part of an 11th-hour overhaul to the property tax code. And while similar battles are happening in other areas across the country, American Mountain states may be struggling the most.

Manish Bhatt, a senior policy analyst with the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, said that lawmakers are trying to find a resolution fast.

Ryan Busse, a Democrat running to unseat Gianforte in November, has made property taxes the centerpiece of his campaign to flip the governorship this fall, framing the hikes as further proof that Gianforte and Republicans are selling out Montana to wealthy outsiders and corporate interests.

A dozen Busse billboards around the state also blame the governor for the property tax issues, while the Democrat’s ads discussed how Gianforte fared personally. Taxes on the incumbent's large Bozeman property increased at a far lower rate than those of his neighbors, while taxes on his Helena home decreased while most neighbors' bills rose.

Busse, a former firearms executive, thinks his message is resonating with the public because Republicans frequently tell him they are angry, especially since many of them feel that Montana is "being taken from them and rigged for wealthy people."

In Bozeman, the median home price in 2023 was $900,000. The value of Mangels's 72 acres increased to 65 percent from 2022 to 2023, based on the state appraisal. Most of the land is classified as "non-qualified agricultural," which is subject to one of the highest tax rates.

Watch the video below to learn more about an increase in property taxes throughout the United States.

This video is from the Thisisjohnwilliams channel on Brighteon.com.

More related stories:

High unemployment rates, high taxes and population exodus pushing Illinois to the brink of collapse.

REPORT: Renting is now cheaper than owning a house in America’s 50 biggest metro areas.

Hundreds of German farmers set up disruptive road blockades to protest punitive taxes.

Sources include:




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