Lawmakers brought up a longtime sore spot during North Idaho College’s budget hearing at the state Legislature this morning: Why does the Coeur d’Alene community college get so much of its funding from property tax, compared to the state's other two community colleges, and why do only Kootenai County residents pay that tax, when NIC serves all five of the North Idaho Panhandle counties? Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint – who is from Bonner County - said, “That’s been an ongoing question from Kootenai County legislators for a long time.”
The College of Western Idaho charges property taxes in Ada and Canyon counties, but its service area also includes all or part of eight other counties. The College of Southern Idaho gets property taxes from Twin Falls and Jerome counties, but also serves all or part of eight others. NIC President Joe Dunlap said the 1982 formula that distributes liquor tax funds from the non-property tax counties to community colleges based on enrollment from those counties' residents is due for an update; the state’s community colleges are working with the Idaho Association of Counties on possible changes. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.