It’s been a banner year for Calumet, the company behind the oil refinery in Great Falls. Despite gross profits of over $70 million dollars in 2021, both the GF City Commission and Cascade County Commission continue to give Calumet massive tax breaks.
Property taxes are a key source of funding for our community, including our schools. Earlier this year, the City Commission approved a tax abatement to the tune of $2.77 million. That’s money Calumet doesn’t have to pay into property taxes. This means Calumet continues to enjoy prime river-front property and its increase in employees adds stress to our infrastructure, with almost no return on investment for the rest of us.
With no commitment to hiring locally, how do these tax breaks benefit us? The short answer is: They don’t. Although I fully support Calumet’s transition to more renewable energy, the company is absolutely capable of paying its fair share of property taxes.
As regular Great Falls’ families struggle with rising taxes amid extraordinary inflation, Calumet was given another property tax break, this time by the County Commission. A second gift to this million-dollar business, Calumet will pay only 50% of its property tax value for the next five years.
Highlighting the absurdity of these abatements, Great Falls citizens are currently being asked to pay higher taxes to support a public safety levy. Asking already-struggling families to suck it up and pay more while simultaneously giving the refinery a multimillion-dollar tax break is a hard pill to swallow.
As stress on our roads, schools, and housing market near a breaking point, its time that we all ask:
Why the funk aren’t we making Calumet paying its fair share?