Land value tax pitched as one idea to increase housing development in Montana

Posted at 10:07 PM, Aug 31, 2022

HELENA — In a Wednesday subgroup meeting of the Governor's Housing Task Force, members discussed the feasibility and merit of ideas such as allowing cities to swap to a land value tax and pushing for more multifamily housing allowances in cities.

In July, Gov. Greg Gianforte created the task force and asked it to recommend ways to make “housing more affordable and attainable for Montanans.”

The task force's about 30 members broke into four smaller subgroups to tackle specific topics, such as local issues, construction, economics and regulatory and permitting. The regulatory and permitting subgroup held its third meeting by video conference to discuss some of the solutions the group came up with to eliminate barriers to housing development.

Regulatory and permitting subgroup co lead, Mark Egge, is a Bozeman-based affordable housing advocate and former member of the Bozeman Planning Board. Egge asked the group to vote on whether a solution was realistic and how significant the change would be if implemented. In the vote, members deemed removing bans on multifamily housing and streamlining developer applications as the easiest and quickest legislative solutions, while members felt allowing cities to swap to a land value tax would require significant effort.

The task force's first report to the governor is due October 15. The initial report is meant to focus on possible legislative solutions.

The entire task force is scheduled to meet in person and by video conference on Thursday, September 8. Department of Environmental Quality Director Chris Dorrington is the presiding officer for the task force and DEQ set up a public comment form on its website.

Public comments are publicized through an interactive map, which also shows where the person submitting the comment lives and their housing status. As of Wednesday evening, the map displayed 38 public comments.