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Eye On Boise

Fri., Sept. 2, 2005, 2:49 p.m.

Plenty of property tax talk

Idaho Senate Majority Caucus Chair Brad Little, R-Emmett, says there’s “critical mass” now to do away with a loophole that lets real estate speculators pay almost no tax on million-dollar development land by taxing it as farm property until they actually build on it. Little declared that some people who’ve paid a million dollars for a resort lot are paying less in property taxes, because of the loophole, than longtime Idaho residents with a small trailer home on a lot out in the middle of nowhere. “I think we’ve got critical mass to make some changes there,” Little said during Idaho Public TV’s “Dialogue” program.
House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, added, “It needs to be repealed.” She also talked about expanding Idaho’s homeowner’s exemption from property taxes, expanding the use of impact fees – including for schools – and allowing local-option taxes as an alternative to property taxes.
Tom Suttmeier, a former Bonner County commissioner and a backer of an initiative to cap Idaho property taxes and values, also was on the show, along with host Marcia Franklin. Suttmeier said even though a joint legislative committee on which both Little and Jaquet serve is looking at some real solutions to Idaho’s property tax problems, his group is moving forward with its initiative. “I think the intent here is to move ahead,” he said. “If suggestions brought forth by the committee would be adopted by the Idaho Legislature, then perhaps the initiative would not be necessary. … We’ll have to wait and see what comes out.”
The “Dialogue” program, which took calls from around the state in a live broadcast Thursday night, will be re-aired on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. Pacific time, or you can see it on the Internet by going to and clicking on “Dialogue.”

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Eye On Boise

Short takes and breaking news from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.