Tryon has long championed the proposed safety levy, despite its astronomical price tag. When first presented with tier options for the levy, Tryon vocally supported the largest price tag, coming out to about a 191% property tax increase. Having angered Republicans and Democrats alike, Tryon tried to walk back his big-tax dreams, instead opting for the current version of the safety levy.
The proposed safety levy includes a massive tax increase for property owners. The City Commission settled on a whopping 65% property tax increase, and sent that proposal to the ballot. They also authorized spending $150,000 of OUR tax money to convince voters to support the levy.
Technically the city commission is non-partisan. Although that may be the structure of the race, it’s quite laughable to act as if the political affiliations of our commissioners aren’t already known. Tryon is a Republican-supposedly the party of “small government.” So how does Tryon’s attempt to raise our property taxes 65% align with the Republican party’s platform?
Combined with the state’s alarming new property tax valuations and the deepening housing crisis in Great Falls, residents are being priced out of their homes. Poverty and housing issues undoubtedly affect crime rates. Passing the safety levy could, in fact, worsen crime in Great Falls. As WTF406 has previously reported, research shows that increasing police budgets doesn’t decrease serious crime. Tryon expresses no understanding that the safety levy does nothing to combat addiction. If we want to decrease crime in Great Falls, folks need access to substance use treatment and mental health centers. The safety levy doesn’t provide those resources, or do anything to prevent crime. Instead of identifying and funding real solutions, the City Commission is asking voters to approve a huge tax increase in the moment we can least afford it.
As Tryon seeks re-election, will his high tax policies effect his popularity with Republicans? What’s happened to the “tighten-your-belts” narrative that Tryon and his party ascribe to?
Has Tryon and his tax increase finally become too extreme for Great Falls Republicans? The answer will likely determine if you can afford to pay your taxes next year.
Read our previous evaluation of the safety levy here: https://wtf406.com/2023/03/city-commission-seeks-65-property-tax-increase-slates-150k-to-convince-voters/