The House is vigorously debating HB 876, the new combo bill that lumps together increasing the homeowner’s exemption, removing the school maintenance property tax levy, and raising the sales tax by 1.25 cents to make up the lost school funding. Among the points brought up thus far: Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, noted that out-of-staters pay part of the sales tax in Idaho when they visit the state as tourists. “Somebody’s gonna help us pay for our own property tax bill – that’s not a bad deal,” Clark told the House.
Meanwhile, the Senate is debating appropriation bills while it waits to see what the House does. The Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee has posted an agenda for a meeting at 2 p.m. to deal with a new bill calling for an advisory vote on whether to shift school operations funding from property tax to sales tax and to consider “all House property tax bills passed in the House prior to the committee’s 2:00 p.m. meeting,” including HB 876.