The House Revenue & Taxation Committee just got out, after an hour-long meeting in which it reached several significant decisions on remaining property tax reform issues:
The panel unanimously agreed to concur in Senate amendments to both HB 421, increasing the homeowner’s exemption, and HB 422, expanding the “circuit breaker” tax break for the elderly and disabled. Those now go back to the full House. However, they also approved a new bill that may become an alternative to HB 421.
The new measure includes everything that was in HB 421 – raising the top amount of the homeowner’s exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, including land rather than just the value of improvements, and tying the top amount to inflation in the future through the Idaho Housing Index. But the new bill also includes removing the entire school maintenance and operations property tax levy, and replacing the lost school funding by raising the sales tax from its current 5 percent to 6.25 percent. The new combo bill is co-sponsored by Reps. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly; Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake; and Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot.