The Idaho Realtors Association proposed legislation today to remove the indexing of the homeowners exemption from property taxes to the Idaho Housing Price Index, instead setting it at a fixed $90,000 at the high end. John Eaton, lobbyist for the Realtors, said his bill is backed by the Idaho Farm Bureau. He noted that after the Legislature raised the exemption to $75,000 in 2005 and tied it to the index, the exemption rose to a maximum of $104,471 in 20909, but then fell to about $81,000 in 2013; it’s now just under $84,000. “We think it’s good policy to set it at $90,000,” Eaton said, rather than have the ups and downs. He said the downs, in particular, “wasn’t really fair to the rural folks,” whose areas saw less increase in home values during boom times. “I think it would be easier across the board for everybody if we just had one flat number.”
Rep. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, spoke out against the move, saying it would mean property tax increases for homeowners in his region as real estate values recover. “It will make home ownership more expensive and it will ripple through our entire economy,” Burgoyne said, and “have a very profound and negative effect in my region of the state.”
A The House Revenue & Tax Committee agreed to introduce the bill on a voice vote, clearing the way for a possible full committee hearing.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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