Last week I experimented with my personal finances to see if Montanans would save money with a 4% sales tax over property tax.  In my case there would be considerable savings.

That article received a nice response: "One of the troubles with property tax: if I don’t/cannot pay my property tax, the County can take and sell my home.  My tax is going up much faster than my income... I’d much prefer a sales tax if the property tax is eliminated."

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Okay, let's be opened-eyed: an income tax combined with a sales tax will mean an overall transaction tax.  You will be taxed for money coming in (earned) and for money going out (spent).  You good with that?

I'm actually okay with it, provided the sales tax replaces the property tax.  Owners should have the right to their property as a reflection of their wealth and prosperity.

That being said, I have a hard line about a sales tax...

No Exceptions for Anyone, for Any Thing, for Any Reason

I don't care if it's a candy bar or a clothing outfit, a car or a house; the sales tax applies.  You buy it, you pay it.

Woman holding bananas in produce aisle of supermarket, side view
Noel Hendrickson, TSM Media Center

What about for food?  Produce?  What about low-income folks?

Food is one of the single items that everyone, everyone purchases, along with clothing.  Sales tax is considered a fair tax here because everyone will pay, regardless of income.  And everyone is in control of their shopping.  Frugality will save money on tax.

Smiling Elderly Man
Inside Creative House, TSM Media Center

I am elderly.  Do I get a discount on the sales tax?

If you are on a fixed income, I wish I could say yes.  But businesses should not have to card you to see if you are over 65, or see your income tax return.  Sales tax should not discriminate for age, gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or anything else for that matter.

ajr_images, TSM Media Center

I am a Veteran.  Can I have a break from the Sales Tax?

Thank You so much for your service.  I greatly appreciate you.  But no, you are not exempt.  If the state gave an exception for Veterans, we will see more "Stolen Valor" as folks run around with knockoff Vet ballcaps and t-shirts just to save a few bucks and cents on sales tax.  I apologize for the brutal take, but am I wrong?

Okay, you have my line in the sand.  Now, still in favor of a sales tax over a property tax?  Feel free to express your view at or on the Montana Talks app.  I look forward to the hot feedback.

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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Gallery Credit: Billy Jenkins

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