The Lewis and Clark County Commission approved a resolution Thursday allowing Montana Association of Counties to “represent the interests of the county” in an ongoing debate over taxes headed for the Montana Supreme Court.
The resolution, approved on a 3-0 vote, states MACo has proposed seeking declaratory judgment from the state Supreme Court regarding the state’s 95 mills levied in every county for the stated purpose of school equalization, a well-intentioned goal of providing additional funding to schools within counties with smaller tax bases.
The state has levied the full 95 mills since school equalization’s inception some 20 years ago, never adjusting the mills like it requires counties to do with their mills. Counties are only permitted by state law to raise taxes at half the average rate of inflation over the last three years.
However, 49 of Montana’s 56 counties, including Lewis and Clark, have passed resolutions dropping the state mandated 95 mills to about 77 mills.
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Earlier, a spokesperson for the governor’s office called reducing the school equalization mills “foolish,” and maintained that doing so would hurt education funding.
In an interview following Thursday morning’s meeting, Lewis and