After Grover Norquist’s immigration reform talk to the City Club of Boise today, I asked him if he’d been to Idaho before. His answer: Many times. He recalled the first, back in 1978 when he was about 21 years old, when he came to help craft the state’s property tax-limiting One Percent Initiative, shortly after California had passed its controversial Proposition 13. “We basically whited out ‘California’ and typed in ‘Idaho,’” he said with a chuckle.
The initiative, which sought to limit property taxes to 1 percent of value, passed, but proved incompatible with Idaho’s tax system. State lawmakers followed up by instead imposing a 3 percent cap on annual increases in local government property tax budgets that still largely stands today.