Vote NO on Constitutional Initiative 105

by jhywgirl

I’m voting no on CI-105, the constitutional initiative to amend the state’s guiding document to prohibit a real estate transfer tax.

Montana is one of 13 states that don’t tax the sale of property. Get that? We DON’T tax the sale of property. I don’t think that we need to amend our constitution to prohibit something that doesn’t exist.

All that aside – Why is the National Association of Realtors, out of Chicago, spending nearly $2 million to PASS CI-105?

problembear has weighed in, as has Moorecat and Jay at Left in the West

When I first heard of Constitutional Initiative 105, I immediately thought of it as some California-type proposition that has ham-stringed that state government into paralysis and perpetual session.

Now to find out that out of state money is funding this behemoth? Pushes me even further away from the thing.

The ever-analytical James Conner, of Flathead Memo, sums it up with a fabulous economy of words in a comment at Left in the West:

This absolutely unnecessary and dangerous constitutional amendment is an excellent example of how a society begins to deprive itself of tools that might someday be necessary for governing effectively. For that reason alone, voters should reject it.

It’s also bad policy. A transfer tax can be limited to large transactions. That would raise a lot of money, yet protect small land owners.

As is usual in this kind of situation, the proponents are reactionaries and libertarians, many wealthy, who never met a tax they liked or thought was necessary…unless, of course, that tax was paid by someone else.

If this measure wins, and it probably will, others will be emboldened to add more anti-tax amendments in the coming years. We could well end up as hard to govern as California.

You can damned well bet that I’ll be checking the “Against” box on CI-105 on election day.

Conner is right, and he speaks to the hamstringing of government that I speak of above. 2nd home ownership in this state by out-of-state owners has placed tremendous pressures on property values in this state. A tax – if ever instituted – could be limited to any number of categories merely by specified criteria.

Besides that, there’d have to be one big mighty shift in this state politically to ever institute something like that.

  1. Bob Oaks

    Thanks Jhwygirl. I know you meant to write “Why is the National Association of Realtors, out of Chicago, spending nearly $2 million to pass [not defeat] CI-105?”

    Even though recent contribution reports show that all but $7,000 of the almost $2M behind the CI-105 campaign come from the Chicago-based NAR, that doesn’t stop the “Coalition Against Double Taxation” from putting the following Q. & A. on its website:

    “Q. Who is supporting this initiative? Where is the funding for this initiative coming from?

    “A. The Montana Coalition to Prevent Double Taxation represents a broad range of interested groups in Montana. We have support from agriculture, business groups, and affordable‐housing advocates. This initiative has a lot of interest in it because everybody pays property taxes, so we have a very broad base of fundraising support. A full list of supporting groups can be found at‐us.html.” (The link fails to mention the NAR, at all)

    • Thanks Bob.

      Realtors make a tremendous amount of money pimping out Montana ranch lands to out-of-state speculators. They don’t want to see any cut to their profit.

      They’ve pushed up property values over the last 7 years, but when the tax bill was due, they went crying to the legislature and the Governor.

      Ultimately, they know the market supports what the market supports – tax, fees and whatever all included.

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