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Bozeman identifies the legislative objectives for 2023



Bozeman, Montana – City officials in Bozeman are setting the city’s priorities for the upcoming year as they get ready for the 2023 legislative session.

More local control is one of those goals, with the city hoping to increase its earnings from visitors by doing so.

“So it makes sense for Montana as a priority that we’re pushing that would allow residents here to vote on opportunity to have a local option sales tax,” says Bozeman’s Economic Development Program Manager Mike Veselik.

According to the city, 1.9 million people passed through Bozeman-Yellowstone in 2021, and many of them came for vacations and spent money there. For this reason, the city wishes to take advantage of the revenue from tourism.

“We would utilize that revenue generated from that tax to offset property taxes for our residents and invest in infrastructure. And other things that we need in our community,” says Veselik.

The city advocates for a number of issues in addition to making money. It aims to reclaim some of the local authority that some commissioners claim was lost during the last session.

“The state chose to put six more items on the list of powers denied to self-governing local governments like the city of Bozeman. We want flexibility there. We want to be able to govern people,” says Veselik.

Clean energy and workforce housing are the city’s top two goals.

“The main thing we see missing in that is resources to support affordable housing. There are three L’s driving the cost of housing: labor, lumber, and land,” says Veselik.

The city is also promoting sustainable energy, and it hopes to enlist Helena’s assistance in boosting incentives for residents and companies to switch to clean energy.

“An inability to offer incentives for people to put wind or solar or other power on smaller properties,” says Veselik.

Other issues backed by the city leaders include diversity and public safety, but the four primary issues—clean energy, a local choice sales tax, local control, and workforce housing—make up the majority of the discussion.

“That will be where our focus and our energy is really focused towards,” says Veselik.