Gov. Gianforte Urges Passage of Reforms To Increase Supply of Affordable Workforce Housing
Submitted by Kaitlin Price
Addressing the Montana Housing Coalition today at the State Capitol, Governor Greg Gianforte highlighted his administration’s efforts to increase the supply of affordable workforce housing in Montana, calling on the legislature to send pro-housing reforms to his desk.
“Housing is a top priority for Montanans. I hear it over and over from folks throughout the state,” Gov. Gianforte said to the coalition at the State Capitol. “To increase the supply of affordable workforce housing, we can’t keep doing the same thing we’ve done year after year after year. The state can’t. And local governments can’t. It hasn’t worked.”
Gov. Gianforte continued, “We must change our approach. I’m urging the legislature to get pro-housing reforms to my desk.” Gov. Gianforte addressing the Montana Housing Coalition at the State Capitol In his remarks, Gov. Gianforte highlighted how the demand for more housing has outpaced homebuilding over the last decade in Montana. Between 2010 and 2020, Montana’s population grew by 9.6 percent, outpacing the state’s housing unit growth of 6.6 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The governor also pointed to rising prices, mortgage rates, and inflation as making it more difficult for Montanans to own or rent a home, as well as burdensome regulations.
Driven by increased consumer demand, rising inflation, and national supply chain breakdowns, the cost of building a new home has soared, with private residential construction costs skyrocketing 18.4 percent nationally between March 2021 and March 2022, according to the Census Bureau.
Regulations at every level of government drive up the price of newly built homes. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) estimated government-imposed regulations account for 23.8 percent of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale.
Last summer, Gov. Gianforte stood up a diverse, bipartisan Housing Task Force to provide recommendations to make housing more affordable and attainable for Montanans.
In line with one of the task force’s recommendations, the governor proposed the Home Ownership Means Economic Security (HOMES) Program in his Budget for Montana Families. Tied to conditions, including increased density, the program invests $200 million to expand water and sewer infrastructure and ultimately increase the supply of affordable workforce housing.
The governor has called on the legislature to send this bill and other pro-housing reforms to his desk.
“Working with the legislature, we’re making great progress to get these bills across the finish line, but we must continue to act with the urgency this situation requires,” said Gov. Gianforte.
The governor concluded, “Every day, I am focused on opening the doors of greater opportunity so more Montanans can thrive, prosper, and achieve the American dream. And every day, Montanans work hard to realize the American dream – to earn a decent living, to raise a family, to contribute to their communities, to retire comfortably, and to own a home. Working together, let’s increase the supply of affordable, attainable housing, and let’s help more folks achieve the American dream of homeownership.”
Department Of Revenue Reminds Property Owners of Upcoming Deadlines
The Montana Department of Revenue would like to remind owners of real and personal property about several important deadlines approaching soon:
March 1 Due Date
Business and industrial equipment owners must report their personal property online using the department’s TransAction Portal (TAP) at https://tap.dor.mt.gov. Businesses have a statutory reporting requirement if their total statewide aggregate market value of equipment is over $300,000. Businesses whose statewide aggregate market value is $300,000 or less are exempt from the business equipment tax. These businesses will not have a reporting requirement in 2023 unless: (1) they have acquired new personal property that would increase their equipment’s aggregate market value above the exemption amount; or (2) the department requests a personal property reporting form be completed.
Livestock owners must report the number of livestock owned as of February 1 as livestock is subject to the per capita fees set yearly by the Board of Livestock. Report online using the department’s TransAction Portal (TAP) at https://MTRevenue.gov/livestock.
Nonprofit, religious, or charitable organizations and other tax-exempt entities may qualify for a real or personal property tax exemption based on the specific use of the property. If you feel your organization may qualify, Property Tax Exemption applications must be submitted by March 1 to be considered for Tax Year 2023.
Homeowners may qualify for the Land Value Property Tax Assistance program if the department’s appraised market value of their land is more than 150 percent of the department’s appraised market value of their home and other improvements on the land.
April 15 Due Date
The Property Tax Assistance Program (PTAP) provides property tax relief to anyone who meets the qualifications and there is no age restriction. To qualify for this program, taxpayers must own and occupy their home as their primary residence and meet the income requirements.
Montana Disabled Veteran (MDV) Property Tax Relief helps qualifying 100 percent disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. Like PTAP, taxpayers must own and occupy their home as their primary residence and meet the income requirements to qualify for tax relief.
For applications and forms, taxpayers are encouraged to go online to MTRevenue.gov or contact a Department of Revenue field office.
For questions and more information about qualifications, visit revenue.mt.gov, or call us at (406) 444-6900, or Montana Relay at 711 for hearing impaired.
Submitted by Montana Department Of Revenue
States Gender Inequality Gap In Auto Coverage
They live in the same state, drive the same car, are the same age and have the same driving record, but we found that men and women aren’t paying the same for car insurance.
Our full report on gender inequality in car coverage is available at the link:
- Women pay more for auto insurance in 31 states
- Women pay $100 – $378 more in Alaska, Florida, New York and Delaware.
- Men pay more in 15 states but only around $28 on average
- Men and women pay the same in only 7 states
Submitted by Emily Lamb
Fish and Wildlife Commission Gains Two New Members
(One commenter, Matt Lumley with the National Trappers Association and the Outdoor Heritage Coalition, said south-central Montana is “probably the hottest wildlife district in the nation” given the presence of bison, wolves and grizzlies, all three of which have some relationship to the Endangered Species Act.)
Asked by committee members how he intends to balance the interests of private property owners, the outfitting industry and non-outfitted hunters and anglers, Burrows said he would “err first and foremost on the side of landowners” while also recognizing the importance of hunting and angling on public lands.
Sen. Pat Flowers, D-Belgrade, asked Brooke about her understanding of Madison River recreation management, one of the hot-button issues Region 3 has grappled with for years. She said she thinks of it as an overcrowding issue, not a matter of fishery health. She added that she expects the state will eventually address crowding on its most popular rivers by moving to a daily permitted or ticketed system similar to what Glacier National Park instated in 2021.
The Senate also approved the reappointments of Phillips County rancher and current commission chair Lesley Robinson and Ismay rancher Bill Lane, but not without a bit of scrutiny from Sen. Brad Molnar, R-Laurel. Molnar, who’s sponsoring a bill that would make commission appointments nonpartisan, paid and elected rather than appointed, criticized Robinson’s recent handling of elk tag allocations.
Molnar accused the commission of setting up an-out-of-cycle work session to grant bull elk tags to the brothers Dan and Farris Wilks, who participate in an FWP program that distributes bull elk tags to a handful of large landowners in exchange for some public elk hunting. (The Wilks brothers own hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchland across Montana, many of which are used for trophy hunting.)
“That does not lead me to believe that the leadership is in a direction I would like to go,” Molnar said.
Molnar was the lone Republican to vote against Senate Resolution 3, the measure advancing the appointees’ nominations. He was joined by all but three of the Senate’s Democrats.
The appointees will serve four-year terms.
By Amanda Eggert, Montanafreepress.org