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Greg Gianforte’s Extremely Taxing Week

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Greg Gianforte’s Extremely Taxing Week

Gianforte Faces Severe Backlash From Many Montana Republicans

Two new stories this week show how Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte is continuing to face political blowback for his failure to address the state’s skyrocketing property tax crisis.

First, a report from the Washington Post highlights how the Montana Department of Revenue warned that “skyrocketing home values would bring a major rise in residential property taxes.” However, because Gov. Gianforte did not work with the legislature on a solution to this looming crisis and instead focused on slashing taxes for the highest earners, “homeowners ended up shouldering a larger share of the tax burden and sending an additional $80 million to state coffers” even as “[s]ome major corporations saw property taxes decrease” and Gianforte’s “taxes on his Helena home decreased even as most neighbors’ bills rose.”

Now, as Gianforte points fingers at local governments for the “highest tax increase in history,” conservative county commissioners have “revolted” and counties are calling out the governor and sending out supplemental tax bills that include “language blaming the state generally and the governor specifically.” Here’s what Montana Republicans are saying:

  • Republican Fergus County Commissioner Ross Butcher says Gianforte is “not living up to the principled stand of smaller government and local control.”
  • Retired Beaverhead County farmer and longtime Republican Art Mangels says that “he wouldn’t vote for Gianforte again” after Gianforte “left us small retired people and senior citizens hanging with higher tax.”

The second report out this week from the Helena Independent Record further highlights the ways in which Gianforte’s tax crisis has created an opening for his primary opponent, Rep. Tanner Smith, who has made the issue a central focus of his campaign. In an interview, Rep. Smith “called the governor a rich carpetbagger” while hammering the tax rebates the Gianforte administration has offered belatedly in response to the housing crisis as “‘just more of Greg buying votes,’ and he said that the approach left out renters and the middle class.”

“Gov. Gianforte’s refusal to meaningfully address the state’s property tax crisis has left Montanans struggling to make ends meet as they face skyrocketing tax bills,” said DGA National Press Secretary Devon Cruz. “Gianforte’s inaction has earned him condemnation from across the political spectrum as Montanans realize that he is not interested in helping working families thrive in Montana, and they cannot afford another term of his failures.”