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Bullock signs resort tax bill

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Montana Capitol rotunda. PHOTO BY SHAYLEE RAGAR

By Michael Somerby EBS DIGITAL EDITOR

Senate Bill 241, sponsored by Sen. Jeffrey Welborn, R-Virginia City, will give Montana’s 10 resort tax communities the ability to levy an additional 1 percent resort tax should individual communities vote to implement it within their respective boundaries, following Gov. Steve Bullock’s signing the bill on May 2.

As opposed to the previously standing 3 percent resort tax levied on luxury goods, which has been in effect since 1992, funds from this additional percentage will only be used for infrastructural projects within said communities.

According to Kevin Germain, the Big Sky Resort Area District tax board’s chairperson since 2015, putting that vote in front of residents is a secondary concern at this point in time.

“There is no current plan on bringing this in front of voters. In my opinion, we’re working first on the [‘Our Big Sky’] Community Visioning Strategy before there’s any talk of increasing resort tax.”

The board also received the last resort tax appropriation applications on the April 29 deadline, which totaled at about $11 million in requests, and will be focusing on determining final appropriation figures from an estimated haul of between $7.5 and $8 million in resort tax collections, according to Germain.

Still, the board certainly recognizes the benefits of possibly implementing the supplementary increase realized through SB 241 when the time is appropriate.

“In my opinion, it’s a really great thing for this community, just another tool in the toolbox,” Germain said. “Luckily, the Legislature saw the need to increase it.”

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