Learn more about the Local Option Gas Tax
Missoula County Commissioners are considering placing a local option gas tax on the June Primary ballot allowing Missoula County voters to decide whether to implement this tax.

Background
Montana statutes allow a county to place before the voters a Local Option Fuel Tax. This is in addition to the regular state taxes already collected at the pump on gasoline. The local option fuel tax is statutorily capped at $.02/gallon and must be spent on the construction and maintenance of roadway infrastructure. Currently, no county in Montana has implemented the local option fuel tax.

Missoula County Commissioners are proposing a ballot initiative for a $.02/gallon fuel tax with revenues being split evenly between Missoula County and the City of Missoula. They are estimating the tax will bring in an additional $1.1 million each year which would boost both city and county road department budgets by $550,000 each. The tax is paid directly to the county and does not go through the state. The proposed tax also excludes diesel fuel.

Reasons to Support/Oppose

Support
  • It is estimated approximately 1/3 ($400,000) of the revenue collected from non-Missoula residents.
  • The local option fuel tax represents a new source of revenue that would ease the need to increase property taxes.
  • This taxes users of roads rather than everyone.
  • Increased road department funding should lead to better maintenance of city and county roads

Oppose
  • Another tax on Missoula residents and businesses increases the cost of living.
  • Creates competitive disadvantage for gas stations located near county lines.
  • Creates additional burdens on gas station owners to collect and remit tax revenue to the county.
  • Infrastructure should be funded at the state level and increases to the fuel tax should be statewide in order to create a more fair/competitive marketplace.

Media Coverage
Supporters, opponents of proposed gas tax speak out - Missoulian
With transportation needs mounting, Missoula County opens hearing on gas-tax - Missoula Current
Different opinions arise about potential Missoula County gas tax - KPAX
Missoula Co. commissioners hear from public on proposed gas tax - KECI
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