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Eye On Boise

New proposal: Eliminate personal property tax, but allow full local-option taxing authority

Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, told the Associated Taxpayers of Idaho today that he supports eliminating the personal property tax, because it's difficult for businesses, but doesn't want to cut basic funding for local government services that now rely on that tax. “No matter what we do, we're talking about a tax shift,” Burgoyne said, “unless we're prepared not to have jails, unless we're prepared not to have paramedics, unless we're prepared not to have firemen show up. … We're really talking about a tax shift, but tax shifts aren't always bad. If tax shifts have positive economic conseqences rather than negative economic consequences, they can help us move the ball down the field.”

Therefore, he said, “I've drafted legislation which would eliminate the personal property tax, but would grant cities and counties the authority to raise taxes.” Under his bill, he said, they could decide what type of taxes - sales, income, or whatever. “They might want to pass taxes on liquor, they might want to pass local taxes on meals, other things that help them pay their bills,” Burgoyne said.

That'd be a huge departure for Idaho, in which the state Legislature long has held tightly to almost all taxing power, leaving local government agencies almost entirely reliant on capped local property taxes.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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