Both the House Rev & Tax Chair, Rep. Dolores Crow, R-Nampa, and Rep. Dennis Lake, the co-chair of an interim committee on property taxes, say they’re thrilled that there’s been so much progress this week toward addressing property tax issues in the Legislature.
“I think it’s fantastic,” Crow said. “You have 35 bills out there – that’s never happened. It’s been a monumental task, but if something good comes out of it, it’ll be worth it.”
She added, “I’ve bent over backward doing things that have never been done to do this.” Those include introducing every property tax bill brought to the committee – a huge list that caused the committee’s agenda on its first day of deliberations to be more than 30 bills long – and giving every one of them a public hearing. (Crow called an impromptu hearing Wednesday morning on HB 569, a bill her committee had introduced a day earlier; all others were heard in a week and a half of hearings ending the day before.)
Crow said she hopes people don’t have unrealistic expectations, because relief can only go so far. “People think immediately that they’re going to get this huge tax relief,” she said. “Some people are really going to be upset, and then here we are again.”
Though she’s maintained that property taxes fundamentally are a local issue, Crow said Thursday that there’s a role for the state, local government and citizens in addressing property taxes. Legislators can change laws; local government can control spending; and citizens can show up and comment at local budget hearings and carefully consider whether to vote for additional tax levies. “We all have to work together,” she said. “I haven’t, to my knowledge, done anything except to try to help the taxpayer as much as I can.”
Lake, who brought seven bills from the interim committee to House Rev & Tax, said he’s been pleased with the reception. “What tickles me about the whole process is the interim committee was able to set the tone for what was ultimately decided, and that’s what interim committees are for,” he said.
So far, the only two bills that have cleared Rev & Tax have been interim committee proposals.
Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, said, “We’re going to get some property tax relief like we hoped to, and it’s going to be statewide.” He added, “For the first time since I’ve been here, we’ve had an outright great discussion of the issues in Rev & Tax committee. Every RS was printed. Every one has gotten at least one hearing. All of the ideas are on the table.”