putting on my flack jacket now…

by problembear

gonna paint a target on my backside for my stances on some of these citizens initiatives from folks in the progressive community but here goes;

CI-105 which would prevent any entity in montana from assessing a transfer tax on property sold in montana. i have the most trouble coming up with a stand on this because i highly distrust those who are pushing for it. i also question how it would stand up to constitutional review by the montana supreme court. but, i am in favor of it simply because with unemployment so high, i don’t think we want to take any more money out of the hands of homeowners who are selling low as it is in this climate.

vote yes on CI-105

CI-161 which would eliminate special hunting license arrangements for outfitters and guides would essentially make it too difficult for these important businesses to attract and hold existing clients by creating a hurdle for prospective hunters to acquire licenses on their own.  guides and outfitters provide much needed commerce to montana. at a time of increasing unemployment in this state it is not wise to shackle an industry which provides jobs for so many montanans and montana businesses used by their clients.

vote no on CI-161.

CI-164 which would cap the interest rate of payday lenders and vehicle title loan businesses at 36%.  no brainer. this criminal activity of charging our working poor and seniors on fixed incomes from 300 to 650% sucks money out of our state and lines the pockets of slime balls like allan jones.

Vote Yes on CI-164

  1. Christian

    I’d heartily disagree on the realty transfer tax. While I tend to think that taxes like these disproportionately target out-of-staters (who increasingly own MT’s highest-dollar properties), which is a good thing in my book, I have no data to back up that vague impression and would eagerly listen to a good argument in opposition. The reason why this is a terrible idea, however, is that tax policy is a topic that should be completely left up to the legislature. Tax law (I just got out of law school, where I mostly studied tax) just does not belong in a constitution. If folks want to choose other options to generate our tax base, then by all means let’s have that debate in the legislature, where it belongs. But the idea of enacting a constitutional amendment on a specific type of tax is as ridiculous as the fact that the entire campaign has been bankrolled by an out-of-state realtor’s organization, who of course are directly financially affected. The key to this comment is the point about “with unemployment so high”: this EMPHASIZES the need for flexibility in tax policy in order to adapt to changing economic conditions, and underscores why it is a terrible idea to use the draconian measure of a constitutional amendment to set any one option in stone.

  2. The Polish Wolf

    I agree with Christian – as far as I can tell, it’s unneeded. Some day we might want a tax on property transfers, and it seems like this would prevent even a highly targeted property transfer tax, like a tax on non-agricultural properties over a certain value, would be prevented if we ever wanted it in the future. It seems to me like it’s using vague anti-tax rhetoric to preempt a reasoned discussion on specific proposals in the future.

    On the other hand, because it is all ‘potential’, it’s probably not a big deal. I just think its possible that ten years from now we’ll run up against this and say, “Wow, no one predicted this particular contingency when we passed that initiative. Too bad it’s on the books now now.”

  3. I absolutely agree with the previous two commentors.. Specific Tax law does NOT belong in the constitution – for any reason.

    I would also disagree with your assessment on CI-161. I wrote about it here – http://www.moorcat.com/roadlesstraveled/?p=62
    but in a nutshell, this initiative could actually hurt out of staters trying to hunt in Montana. In fact, there was a very good article on this initiative where they actually interviewed a number of people that currently use the outfitter system and they would not be able to hunt if they couldn’t because of the scheduling issue. While I agree that the non resident licenses should increase in cost (and would have voted yes, if that was all this initiative was about), I cannot agree that this initiative will help Montana as a whole, in fact, it may very well hurt places like Dillon that rely on the outfitter aided out of state hunters.

    • Sorry, I can’t link the article as it was published in the Dillon Tribune (in the Oct 13th edition) and the Tribune does not post the majority of their articles online.

    • i agree with your position on CI-161 moorcat. i am voting no on it. many of my relatives and friends derive their living from outfitting and guiding out of state hunters. they are good sportspeople who keep the traditions of fair hunt and hospitality for the clients they serve. just like you, i support them.

      • hit-escape

        “many of my relatives and friends derive their living from outfitting and guiding out of state hunters.”

        I suppose it’s not that big a deal, but you should have disclosed this in your recommendation.

    • Moorcat, I respectfully disagree with your position on I-161.

      this initiative could actually hurt out of staters trying to hunt in Montana.

      Oh, the pain of going home empty handed. I’m sorry, but that kind of “hurt” engenders no sympathy from me. As to hurting outfitters, that may well be. But I cannot say that I favor the government underwriting industry, and that is what we’re talking about, with decreased revenue (fees /tax dollars) collected and exclusive rights to public resource. No defense of outfitters that I’ve read to date actually puts a dollar value on what they would lose by not having an exclusive allotment of tags. In fact, no one is capable of pointing out how many outfitters would lose business, or how much they would lose. That argument is mostly fear-mongering. Jobs! The only hurdle that outfitters need to overcome to keep business is that the first day of hunt, they take their client to the local bait shop/Walmart to buy an out of state tag. Problem solved. Outfitters would still keep the exclusive deals that they (pay for) make with land owners, ensuring their high spending clients benefits that most Montanans don’t enjoy. The state claims additional revenue. No problem.

      And I do have to point out how silly it is to talk of the value of “fair hunt” under the current system of buying a more assured kill. As a Montana hunter, that doesn’t sound very fair to me.

  4. Sorry for the double comment but I want to leave you with one final thought…

    If the 5500 non resident licenses are taken away from the outfitters, that means there will be 5500 more out of state people running around the woods with a rifle and no outfitter riding herd on them. That, my friend, is a sobering thought.

    • That’s pure fear mongering.

      If the 5500 non resident licenses are taken away from the outfitters, that means there will be 5500 more out of state people running around the woods with a rifle and no outfitter riding herd on them.

      It means no such thing. It just means 5500 tags are available to out of staters that were only offered before for the profit of in state individuals at the expense of the rest of us. They can, (and by your other arguments, most will) hire an outfitter to more greatly assure a kill. Isn’t that why people hire outfitters? Ultimately speaking, a hunt is about population control, right? If a bunch more out of staters get skunked, then there’s more elk available for me. WOO HOO! (Oh no, decreasing Elk populations are due to wolves, and not outfitted hunting, or so outfitters tell me.)

      And seriously, are you really gonna tell me that a non-Montanan with a rifle is a danger to myself just because? I’ve seen and experienced Montana hunters. Some of them might need the “sobering thought”.

  5. JayByrd

    The C-105 campaign is a prime example of corporate money flooding into politics thanks to “our” Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United.
    Montana voters are being asked to change the constitution to outlaw something that does not exist.
    In states that have it, real estate transfer taxes are typically paid by the buyer and folded into mortgage — so it’s a relatively painless tax paid over time. If you’re flipping houses, yes, it is a burden and that’s why out-of-state Realtor organizations are behind C-105.
    In any case, it’s up to the legislature to set tax policy, as others here have said.

  6. Pronghorn

    This might sound simplistic (because it is), and I haven’t relied on this idea entirely to make up my mind, but if the Montana Stock Growers and the Montana Farm Bureau Federation are FOR it, I must be AGAINST it.


    • i have a lot of friends who are farmers and ranchers – most of them are 3rd or 4th gen and they are very good stewards and conservation minded. i support their views on CI-105.

  7. Bob Oaks

    Which is it PB?

    You don’t want to “take any more money out of the hands of homeowners who are selling low” or you support farmers and ranchers who are “3rd or 4th gen and … are very good stewards.” Maybe it’s both.

    Well in a couple of cases in MT, RETT’s have been proposed to fund affordable housing trusts or agricultural heritage programs. These would have exempted average value homeowners (under $300,000 in one case and $500,000 in another) and multi-generational land stewards aren’t really turning their properties over all that often anyway, are they?

    The truth is, to pass in the Legislature a RETT would need to be structured to avoid all those straw man evils the proponents invent for a nonexistent tax they want you to fear.

    If you want to see the good that can come from a well structured RETT check out the website of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.

  8. jim

    PBear you are accepting bad info on this one. The transfer tax has been put forward as one avenue to reduction of property taxes. The people putting this forward are the same ones who have in the past pushed the sales tax. If you support eliminating potential tax revenues then OK. And if you think out-of-state land speculators and Hollywood ranchers should be able to come in and buy amendments to our constitutional and get special protection for places like the Yellowstone Club or the Stock Farm in the Bitterroot then support CI 105. But if you have the interest of common folks in Montana in your heart, You will expose this CI for what it is. It’s a fruad and terrible policy. And you should not support CI105

  9. petetalbot

    It was very clever of the Realtors and their out-of-state moneyed interests to launch CI-105 this election cycle. The real estate market is depressed, and buyers and sellers alike are hurting. Throw in the notion of a tax on the sale of homes and other properties, and you have a built in pro-initiative constituency.

    But imagine if this tax were in place a half-dozen years ago when million dollar McMansions were sprouting up like leafy spurge on disturbed soil. At just a one percent tax, we’d see at least a couple of million dollars going into the general fund. And folks who could afford a million dollar home (or second or third home, in many cases) could afford a ten thousand dollar real estate transfer tax.

    There are a number of ways this tax could be mitigated so it isn’t too onerous on regular working folk: a graduated scale or exclusions for some entities, such as affordable housing, or working farms and ranches.

    In any event, it’s ludicrous to make this anti-tax measure a constitutional amendment. It’s the legislature’s job to hammer out our tax policy and it is hoped that it has all the tools available to create an equitable system.

    The real estate transfer tax has been bandied about in previous legislatures and hasn’t passed, yet. But there may come a time when it’s appropriate and it would be silly not to have it as an available option for our elected representatives.

  1. 1 Vote NO on Constitutional Initiative 105 « 4&20 blackbirds

    […] in the West has put up a post on the issue, problembear has weighed in, as has Moorecat and Left in the West”>Jay at Left in the […]

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