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Resolution 2016-19, Taxation on Trust Lands


It is the intent of the Montana Association of Counties to support reservation counties in asking the State of Montana to supplement the property taxes lost due to tribal and/or tribal-in-trust lands with Montana payment in lieu of taxes thereby making them whole.

WHEREAS, Counties provide services to all residents living within their borders; and

WHEREAS, The State of Montana has established, through the legislative process, that counties will receive funding for services from property taxes levied on owners of property within their borders; and

WHEREAS, Tribally-owned and tribally-owned trust lands within the exterior boundaries of reservations in said counties are exempt from property taxes; and

WHEREAS, Since Statehood, the State has added new counties and revised county boundaries resulting in approximately 16 counties which have tribal reservations within their borders; and

WHEREAS, Owners-in-fee (individuals who have been deeded lands out of trust or tribal ownership to individuals) of lands within the exterior boundaries of reservations are subject to property tax levies but are petitioning Tribes to revert the real property to Tribal or Tribal in Trust ownership, decreasing revenue from property tax levies; and

WHEREAS, Reliance on property tax revenue severely handicaps the ability of said counties to generate sufficient funding to provide essential services; and
WHEREAS, Federal payments in lieu of taxes does not extend to reservation lands within county or state boundaries; and

WHEREAS, The State of Montana continues to leave reservations within counties; and

WHEREAS, The State of Montana continues to expect counties to utilize only this revenue source.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that The Montana Association of Counties supports reservation counties and asks the State of Montana to supplement the property taxes lost due to tribal and/or tribal-in-trust lands with Montana payment in lieu of taxes thereby making them whole.

2016 ACTION

SPONSOR:  Lake County
REFERRED TO: MACo Tax, Budget & Finance Committee
ADOPTED:  Annual Conference, Billings, MT, September 21, 2016