This morning’s Rev & Tax Committee hearing came and went without taking up any new proposal – or either of the existing bills – on cutting personal property taxes for business equipment. Rep. Gary Collins, R-Nampa, the committee chairman, said, “We will have a vote – not necessarily on these particular bills, but we will have a vote before the committee. But it won’t be before Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.”
Asked if the committee will hear a different bill – like the new one already submitted to it by IACI this week – Collins said, “I haven’t decided that yet.” He said, “A number on the committee have requested some time to look at both proposals a little bit more. There are those that would just as soon not do anything this year. We’re working to see if there is something that would be worth bringing forth – I’m not going to bring something forth that I know is going to go down in flames, I’m not going to do that.”
The two existing bills were the subjects of a big public hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday that drew dozens of people to testify. They are HB 272, from the Idaho Association of Counties, which would exempt the first $100,000 in business equipment for each taxpayer, in each of Idaho’s 44 counties, at a cost to the state of up to $19 million a year. And HB 276, from the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which would phase out the tax entirely over seven years, at a cost to the state of up to $120 million a year.
“This is an extremely important thing for cities, counties, schools,” Collins said; officials from all of those raised big concerns at the hearing about the impact of HB 276 on their services and local tax bases. “We’re just trying to find consensus.”
He said of IACI’s new bill, on which IACI hasn’t commented other than to say that it’s put a new one forward, “I do have the RS. … That’s in the mix.” Collins said he hasn’t yet received any other new proposals, but that could happen. He said he’s interested in consensus not just in his committee, but on a wider basis, including across the rotunda in the Senate. “We’re trying to come to a consensus that would be acceptable not only here but on the other side, too,” he said.