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HOUSE BILL NO. 403
INTRODUCED BY B. RANEY
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: "AN ACT CLASSIFYING INTERMITTENTLY OCCUPIED RECREATIONAL RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS AS CLASS SEVEN PROPERTY; DEFINING CLASS SEVEN PROPERTY AS RECREATIONAL DWELLINGS THAT ARE USED LESS THAN 90 DAYS A YEAR PRIMARILY BY NONRESIDENT OCCUPANTS; PROVIDING THAT INTERMITTENTLY OCCUPIED RECREATIONAL RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS ARE NOT DWELLINGS AFFECTING AN OCCUPANT'S LIVELIHOOD, DWELLINGS USED BY SEASONAL EMPLOYEES, OR COMMERCIAL LODGING FACILITIES; SUBMITTING THE PROPERTY TAX INCREASE TO THE ELECTORATE; AMENDING SECTION 15-6-137, MCA; PROVIDING A CONTINGENT VOIDNESS PROVISION; AND PROVIDING AN EFFECTIVE DATE AND AN APPLICABILITY DATE."
WHEREAS, the Big Sky Country is finite; and
WHEREAS, people from around the nation and around the world know and appreciate the "quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains . . ." (Preamble, Montana Constitution); and
WHEREAS, recreational cabins, houses, and trophy estates owned by nonresidents degrade the very qualities of the Big Sky Country that the occupants attempt to possess and at the same time strain local and state services; and
WHEREAS, the state needs a taxation policy that to some extent encourages a higher density and fuller use of residential recreational property by increasing nonresident use of existing property and discouraging the proliferation of seldom-used recreational residences scattered across the landscape; and
WHEREAS, while the Legislature encourages nonresidents to visit and enjoy our great state, enjoyment does not require the use of cabins and trophy estates that are deserted most of the year.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
Section 1. Section 15-6-137, MCA, is amended to read:
"15-6-137. Class seven property -- description -- taxable percentage. (1) Class seven property includes:
(a) all property used and owned by persons, firms, corporations, or other organizations that are engaged in the business of furnishing telephone communications exclusively to rural areas or to rural areas and cities and towns of 800 persons or less;
(b) all property owned by cooperative rural electrical and cooperative rural telephone associations that serve less than 95% of the electricity consumers or telephone users within the incorporated limits of a city or town, except rural electric cooperative properties described in 15-6-141(1)(a);
(c) electric transformers and meters; electric light and power substation machinery; natural gas measuring and regulating station equipment, meters, and compressor station machinery owned by noncentrally assessed public utilities; and tools used in the repair and maintenance of this property;
(d) intermittently occupied recreational residential improvements, including up to 20 acres upon which the improvements are located and any improvements on the 20 acres that are auxiliary buildings or outbuildings of the residential improvements.
(2) (a) To qualify for this classification, the average circuit miles for each station on the telephone communication system described in subsection (1)(b) must be more than 1 mile.
(b) An "intermittently occupied recreational residential improvement" is:
(i) a residential improvement to real property owned either by a resident or nonresident of the state;
(ii) not located within the limits of a municipality;
(iii) occupied primarily by nonresidents of the state and, after the year it is constructed, is occupied less than 90 days a year;
(iv) used as a recreational dwelling and does not relate to the means of livelihood of the occupants nor is it primarily used as the dwelling of persons engaged in seasonal or recreational employment; and
(v) not a commercial lodging facility as a facility is defined in 15-65-101.
(3) Class seven property is taxed at 8% of its market value."
NEW SECTION. Section 2. Submission of fee change to electorate. This act shall be submitted to the qualified electors of Montana as provided in Title 13, chapter 1, MCA, at the tax election to be held in 1999, by printing on the ballot the full title of this act and the following:
SHALL THE PROPERTY TAX ON INTERMITTENTLY OCCUPIED RECREATIONAL RESIDENTIAL IMPROVEMENTS BE INCREASED ANNUALLY BY APPROXIMATELY 100% IN THE FOLLOWING MANNER?
 FOR reclassifying intermittently occupied recreational residential improvements for property tax purposes so that the rate for their taxable value increases from 3.82% to 8%.
 AGAINST reclassifying intermittently occupied recreational residential improvements for property tax purposes so that the rate for their taxable value increases from 3.82% to 8%.
NEW SECTION. Section 3. Contingent voidness. If Constitutional Initiative No. 75, enacting Article VIII, section 17, of the Montana constitution, is declared invalid, then section 2 is void.
NEW SECTION. Section 4. Effective date. (1) If approved by the electorate this act is effective January 1, 2000.
(2) If the contingency set forth in section 3 occurs, then this act is effective January 1, 2000.
NEW SECTION. Section 5. Applicability. This act applies to tax years beginning after December 31, 1999.
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Latest Version of HB 403 (HB0403.01)
Processed for the Web on January 27, 1999 (4:13PM)
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