Under the unlikely headline “Big Sky affordable housing sees glimmer of hope in resort tax funding,” the Bozeman Daily Chronicle printed a bizarre story on June 27.
Big Sky is Montana’s wealthiest town–where millionaires ski, golf and recreate and real estate prices are sky high.
Prices are high because the town is hemmed in on all sides by public land. Regulations and covenants further increase costs. (RV Parks or trailer parks are virtually prohibited). Big Sky is similar to other high-reg, strict-zoning, public-land-enveloped places such as Aspen, Park City, and San Francisco in this way.
A six-year-old could easily diagnose the problem (if high real estate values are a problem). And the solution. Deregulation would quickly provide more affordable housing for poor Big Sky residents.
But in the eyes of government trusters (and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle), the solution lies in more regulation and more government redistribution schemes.
Montana has no sales tax except in “resort” areas–and Big Sky has declared itself such an area. “Nonprofits” must apply for grants to have government officials dispense the ‘resort tax’ dollars to them.
And this year the government board dispensed almost $2 million to various nonprofit “affordable housing” condo projects.
“The fact that the resort tax board earmarked such a large sum for affordable housing is a clear marker of its understanding of the severity of the community’s housing crunch,” the Chronicle reported (quoting an interested groupie/developer).
No this was not a story in The Onion.