Big Sky Reverses On Local Tax Authority
In a move that might be perceived as politically motivated, Big Sky Economic Development has reversed its support for a local option sales tax authority for the 2017 legislative session after being criticized by some of the more conservative Yellowstone County commissioners, who happen to control the agency’s budget. The vote to remain neutral came after Yellowstone County Commissioners John Ostlund and Jim Reno raised concerns during Big Sky’s November meeting. Both commissioners have spoken out against tax increases in the past.
Consequently, during its Dec. 8 meeting, Big Sky’s board walked back its earlier decision to support the local option tax authority– in a divided vote– that would have given local governments the authority to ask voters to impose a sales tax up to 3 percent. On Wednesday, Ostlund said he recognizes that Big Sky is an independent entity with its own board, but questioned whether it should weigh in on the local option.