Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee Chairman Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, used his presentation to JFAC to report on talks on repealing or reducing the personal property tax on business equipment. “I wish I could stand here today and report to you that all is well, but unfortunately that is not the case,” he said. Discussions are ongoing, he said, but are stuck in part on whether they should include exempting operating property, such as utility lines, railroad tracks and pipelines. He said there’s been recent discussion of using tax shifts as a way to cope with the cost of reducing the tax: For example, he said, a school levy might cost a typical homeowner more, because personal property wouldn’t be included in the base taxed for the levy. “That makes it harder to pass that levy,” Siddoway told JFAC. “But with that shift, the voters have an opportunity to say yea or nay on it. So that’s one way some of the moneys could be shifted.”
Siddoway said discussions are continuing. “The proposal is still alive,” he said. “I don’t know how well it is, but it’s still alive.” He added that any plan likely would look at a multi-year phaseout, and might not exempt all personal property from tax.
Click below for comments from other committee chairs addressing JFAC this morning.
House Judiciary Chairman Rich Wills, R-Glenns Ferry, urged support for a secure mental health facility. “There are more than 2,100 offenders in our system with mental health needs now, and that’s only going to grow,” he said. “We’re in critical needs in that area and I would hope we look at that.”
Senate Judiciary Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, said, “I personally do not feel that the third branch of government (the courts) should be funded by fines. … We need to be looking for a way to fund the third branch of government without depending on fines.”
House Business Committee Chairman Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, said his committee is “a very conservative group, but I sense it has an aggressive ambition for Idaho to enlarge the size and diversity of its economy.” He urged funding for workforce training; community college professional-technical programs; and the rural initiative at the Department of Commerce programs. Henderson said his committee also “strongly supports” the Idaho Opportunity Fund, contained in HB 100, to fund infrastructure projects that attract new jobs.