HB 676a, the bill to eliminate a notorious tax loophole for some rural developers and land speculators, just won final approval in the House after it was amended in the Senate – on a unanimous vote. “This is the bill that’s been floating around and we’ve been trying to close this loophole for four years,” said Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly. “I’d appreciate your green light.”
The unanimous, 63-0 vote might not seem that remarkable – after all, the House had passed the bill earlier, and the Senate amendment merely struck a clause that allowed the loophole to continue if land was sold to family members – but there had been widespread rumors that there would be a move to send the bill back to committee, rather than concur with the Senate amendments, and to do the same to all the property tax relief bills, in favor of studying the issue for another year. That didn’t happen – and that’s significant. Still pending is major legislation to increase the homeowner’s exemption, which is pending House approval of Senate amendments, and to shift part of school funding off the property tax and raise the sales tax, which is in a Senate committee.