Business leaders consider potential impact of sales tax in Montana

Posted at 11:30 AM, Dec 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-19 18:33:41-05

BOZEMAN – Business owners gathered in Bozeman on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a statewide sales tax and another option that would allow for sales tax in counties bordering national parks.

Montana House Representative Kerry White is proposing a bill that would add a 2.5 percent sales tax to goods, excluding groceries and medicines.

Having a sales tax would potentially eliminate most property taxes.

With the Treasure State’s population of about 1.1 million and 12 million visitors last year statewide, many Montanans believe this could be a good change.

“So the statewide tax, I think what you’re looking at is rather than having a $300-a-month property tax bill, basically that bill goes away. You’re paying a two-and-a-half percent sales tax on goods that are taxed as you go along month to month,” said Bozeman Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Daryl Schliem. “I think he made a good point, roughly at a two percent sales tax, if you spent $100,000 a year, that’s $2,000 a year. How many people spend $100,000 in goods on an annual outgoing basis?”

The Gateway Local Option tax is another option that would allow for the counties surrounding national parks to have sales tax. These bills will go to Helena to be voted on.

Reporting by Emma Hamilton for MTN News