Eye On Boise

Another property tax initiative

A retired physician and former state epidemiologist filed his own property tax limiting initiative on Tuesday, seeking to cap taxes and values just for the primary homes of Idaho residents – whether they’re homeowners or renters. “We’re not talking about rich people and second homes and stuff like that, we’re talking about the primary residence of an Idaho resident,” said Fritz Dixon of Meridian. “Now whether that’ll stand constitutional muster, I don’t know.”

Dixon submitted his one-page initiative to the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday, and it was forwarded to the Idaho Attorney General’s office for review. Already on review there is another property tax-limiting initiative that runs nearly 100 pages, seeking to cap property taxes for all types of property at 1 percent of value, to freeze and then cap values, and to make a series of other changes in state tax laws.

Dixon’s measure would limit tax on “real property used as the primary residence of an Idaho residence” to 1 percent of value, and those values would be capped at 2002 levels and allowed to rise no more than 2 percent a year unless ownership changed. At sale, the value would go to the sale price. It also throws in some other changes: A two-thirds vote of all members of each house of the Legislature would be required to raise any tax; lawmakers would be forbidden from imposing a real estate transfer tax; cities, counties and special districts would get local-option tax authority with a two-thirds vote; bond elections could be held only at general elections; and all ads about proposed bonds would have to specify interest costs.

“Mine’s one page, because people actually are supposed to read it before they sign it,” Dixon said. “If the other organization doesn’t get their 100-pager passed, and there’s another that gets past the attorney general, maybe they’ll say ‘yours is better than one that didn’t fly.’” The Attorney General’s office has 20 working days to review the proposed initiative.



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