Mountain West lawmakers seek property tax relief as home values soar
State officials around the Mountain West are looking to provide property tax relief to residents as they struggle with the increasing costs of living in the region.
Property tax formulas depend on where you live, but the amount is generally based on the value of your home. In the Mountain West, those yearly bills are getting larger as demand to live in the region keeps rising and real estate prices keep breaking records.
In Wyoming, property taxes jumped about 16 percent in 2021. State Sen. Mike Gierau, D-Jackson, recently testified that the issue is acute in resort areas and other highly desirable communities.
“I'm talking about counties that are surrounding our national parks, counties that are getting historic growth,” he said.
In Idaho, property taxes have risen about 65 percent just in the past five years, according to the Mountain States Policy Center.
Coloradans are facing what the Denver Post recently described as "unprecedented and unsettling" property tax hikes as the median prices of homes in Front Range communities and mountain towns soar.
Gierau said the bills are a growing burden especially for lower-income folks and older residents on social security.
“Our teachers, our firefighters, first responders – people that are working every day that are struggling at their kitchen table with their issues, their costs, right now,” he said.
That’s why Wyoming lawmakers voted to expand refund programs for low- and middle-income homeowners. Montana recently passed a similar but broader measure, among other large tax cuts. A bill moving through the Idaho Legislature would also provide relief. Some Colorado lawmakers are calling for local governments to provide temporary property tax credits.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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