Republican Senate candidate Tim Sheehy saved big on property tax - TAI News
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Tim Sheehy speaks to supporters in Gallatin Gateway, Montana, June 4, 2024 (Screenshot from Independent Record/YouTube)

Montana Republican Tim Sheehy claims on his campaign site, “I’m running for the U.S. Senate, because our campaign is about service, duty, and country — not politics as usual.” But while many Montanans are struggling to pay soaring property taxes, Sheehy filed a successful appeal of the valuation of his multimillion-dollar vacation property in Big Sky, saving tens of thousands of dollars.

Sheehy, a wealthy corporate executive challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester in November’s election, owns and rents out the property through a limited liability company called Half Hitch Big Sky, LLC. According to a June 2023 HuffPost report, the 3,200-square-foot resort property is available to rent for an average of $1,400 a night. 

Public records reviewed by the Montana Independent indicate that the Montana Department of Revenue appraised the property as worth $7,696,200 as of January 2022. In July 2023, Sheehy and his business associate John Saunders filed an appeal, claiming that based on comparable property sales and listings, it was only worth $6,000,000. The agency responded by lowering the valuation to $5,734,600, saving him tens of thousands of dollars in annual property taxes. 

The revaluation comes as ordinary Montanans are seeing significantly higher property tax obligations, spurred by wealthy individuals buying up Montana land and inflating property values. A video shared on TikTok by Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ryan Busse in May features a 68-year-old Montanan who shares his own story of soaring property taxes: “My property taxes were $895 a year. Now, my property taxes are approaching $8,000 a year over the last couple of years,” the man says. “We just can’t take this anymore. This was a great place and it still is, but the people that made it great can’t afford to live here anymore.”

The Republican-led Legislature and Gov. Greg Gianforte have failed to provide relief for those forced to pay rising property taxes. Gianforte’s own tax bill actually dropped by $600 while his neighbors saw increases of up to 60%, the Montana Independent previously reported.

Sheehy has pushed for economic policies that would benefit the richest Montanans and do little to help working families. In February, he told the right-wing Breitbart News Saturday, “What we’ve got to do is lock down major majorities so we can make sure … the Trump tax cuts stay in place.” 

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 slashed tax rates for millionaires like Sheehy while providing minimal savings or even tax hikes for working families. A recent analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that making its expiring individual tax rate provisions permanent would add $4.6 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.

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The Montana Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.