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Montana is currently experiencing a housing crisis. Since 2002, the price of homes has been rising significantly faster than median household income, causing many Montanans to be priced out of the housing market and struggle financially. The lack of affordable homes is not only hurting residents, but also hindering Montana’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

Montana lawmakers still have the chance to address this crisis by overriding Gov. Gianforte’s veto of House Bill 397, a state-level low-income housing tax credit that involves the private sector and is projected to double the number of homes and apartments constructed over five years. It would build 1,000 more apartments and create $220 million in construction, 2,900 new jobs, and $117 million in construction wages. This bill passed by large margins in both houses of the Legislature this spring.

Bills similar to HB 397 have been very successful in other states. Colorado has seen more than 19,000 jobs created, $465 million in private-sector investment, and more than $1.5 billion of economic activity generated. Lawmakers have until June 25 to submit their polling responses on overriding the governor’s veto. We should all urge our lawmakers to make this bill a law for the good of all of Montana.

Natalie Mahoney


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