How It Works
Have you heard about the LOCAL OPTION? It’s a new kind of economic development tool to transform your community.
The LOCAL OPTION is up to a four percent tax for specific community infrastructure projects that goes away when the project is funded. It could be enacted by counties and towns across Montana, but only if residents vote to use it. The LOCAL OPTION is tied to specific projects that are meaningful to your community. Whether it’s attracting tourists or keeping and attracting talented people, it’s about making your town more competitive today and for future generations.
It Is Not Permanent
Funds collected in your community stay in your community, and are earmarked for voter-approved projects. Once the city has collected enough to fund the voters’ chosen projects the tax ends.
What LOCAL OPTION Could Mean For Your Community
Currently, 38 states allow a LOCAL OPTION. In Montana, only a handful of cities are allowed to take advantage of economic development through the LOCAL OPTION. Utilizing Montana’s Resort Tax, communities under 5,500 population have demonstrated the transformative power of this LOCAL OPTION. For example, Whitefish, MT used over $15 million in revenues to complete 31 street and park projects between 1996 and 2013. Red Lodge, MT, another community with fewer than 5,500 residents, spent $9.4 million of tax revenues primarily on water, sewer, and streets, between 2000 and 2013. Both communities are shining examples of the transformative power of allowing voters to tax, and invest in, themselves.
The LOCAL OPTION Process
Transforming your community with LOCAL OPTION involves two steps. First, the state legislature must enact a law that would give cities the authority to consider a LOCAL OPTION. Then, a city’s voters can identify and vote on the community projects they want LOCAL OPTION to fund.
Once authorized by the legislature, no city is required to use the LOCAL OPTION. Simply put: the people, not the politicians, decide what’s best for their community. When a community votes to utilize the LOCAL OPTION, it is taking control of its own destiny by dedicating resources to meaningful projects where they live.
Your community may choose to invest in infrastructure, transit, neighborhood revitalization, libraries, and more—it’s whatever the people decide.
If a city votes to use the LOCAL OPTION, at 4%, the tax rate remains the lowest in the region. And it won’t apply to things like groceries or medicine. More importantly, this means local governments don’t need to depend on burdening property owners to pay for community projects.
Additionally, Montana’s 12.3 million tourists, spending $3.5 billion, will assist with our community improvements.
It’s time to ACT!
The LOCAL OPTION is a proven, short-term, economic tool that raises funds for capital projects important to each community. Imagine what YOUR community could look like if you had the right to invest in projects that move your town forward.