Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee Chairman Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, brought legislation to the House Rev & Tax Committee this morning to remove regulated utilities and railroads from the partial personal property tax exemption on business equipment that lawmakers enacted last year. “Bottom line is we’ve got to fund our local governments and our local taxing districts some way,” Siddoway told the House committee. “And we’re going to do that through real property, or somewhat through personal property now. … I always thought that the fairest tax was the flattest tax, the levelest tax. Now, everybody in this state uses electricity. And the more you use, the more you pay. To me, that’s a great mechanism to collect those taxes.”
He said because utilities are regulated by the PUC, adjustments would be made if they lost the current personal property tax exemption, to make up those costs through rates. “I know there are a lot of competing bills that are trying to address this right now,” Siddoway said. "And the way I look at that, is let’s let those bills go forward. Let’s let this bill go fwd. And let’s do as the speaker suggested, let’s have the debate. Let’s see where we’re going to ultimately end up.”
After lots of questions, the House committee agreed to introduce the bill.