Dear Editor
A local option sales tax is a bad idea. Why:
1. Count the number of shoppers at Costco, Sam’s Club, the Mall, Scheels, etc. with license plates from Wyoming, and those not from Yellowstone County. Why would you want to discourage out of town shoppers by imposing a local sales tax on them?
2. More taxes are not a solution. Operating government more efficiently is.
3. Once a local sales tax is established in metropolitan areas of Montana it will spread to the others. Thus defaulting to a statewide sales tax yet never voted on by citizens across the state.
4. Rural folks have a hard enough time making a living. Don’t make it even more costly to ‘come to town’.
5. There is no guarantee that there will be a reduction in property tax. Those of us who’ve been here a while can recall the promise made to bring in lottery as a way to fund education. Lasted a one session then the legislature redirected the funds elsewhere.
6. What will be exempt? In looking at the backers of a local sales taxes, I suspect newspapers will be one of them.
There was a time when the Billings Chamber of Commerce opposed forces that could curtail business. I guess no more. However, a City of Billings sales tax could be good for business in the county. If the City of Billings adopts a local sales tax while Yellowstone County does not, you could end up having a store on the city side of street with one price while a similar store across the street in the county with lower price.
Jim Reno,
Yellowstone County Commissioner

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