The House has approved an array of amendments to HB 599, the personal property tax repeal, but defeated one to cap the break at $50,000 in value for each business. That move would have cut the eventual cost of the business tax break from more than $120 million to just over $9 million, while still exempting more than 80 percent of Idaho businesses from the personal property tax entirely.
“We are looking at a downturn,” said Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise. “I believe this is a much more prudent approach to property tax relief. It does provide relief to all businesses in an equal fashion, but I think it provides more protection to smaller businesses.” Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, argued against Killen’s amendment. “Only 16 percent of the businesses would get the big advantage of this bill, that might be true, but who’s providing the huge amount of jobs in this state? It’s those businesses that would get the bulk of the benefit of this that are providing the bulk of the jobs in this state,” Raybould said. But Killen said small businesses provide the majority of jobs, both nationally and in Idaho. The House was divided, but it defeated Killen’s amendment, while passing several others designed to address far-reaching constitutional problems in the bill identified by an Idaho Attorney General’s opinion letter; click below for the full text of the letter.