The House Revenue & Taxation Committee has voted 10-6 to recommend not concurring in the Senate amendments on the personal property tax repeal bill, HB 599, and instead calling for a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and the Senate. The panel’s five Democrats were joined by GOP Rep. JoAn Wood of Rigby in opposing the motion. Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, called the Senate amendments “just about a complete rewrite.” Senate Tax Chairman Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, told the panel that operating property was excluded in the Senate amendments for two reasons: Because public utilities already are regulated as to their rate of return, and because tracking the business sites in various counties for utility property for the exemption would be “a nightmare to administer” for the Tax Commission. Rev & Tax Chairman Dennis Lake said he had several concerns about the amended bill, including whether it should contain an economic “trigger” to hold off on the tax break in fiscal year 2010 if state tax revenues fall short. “We’ll see if we can’t agree to a bill,” he said.
House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, said the conference committee idea is “just dragging this on.” Said Rep. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise, “I think they’re trying to muddy the issue.”