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Resort Cities Bill Killed

A plan to expand Idaho’s resort cities tax has been defeated in a House committee.

The Revenue and Taxation Committee on Thursday voted down a bill sponsored by Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, that was intended to allow Coeur d’Alene to impose a local sales tax.

Under a 1978 law, “resort cities” that depend on tourism, travel and recreation-related activities for much of their revenue can impose special taxes if voters approve.

But the law limits resort cities to communities under 10,000 population. Those currently qualifying are Sun Valley-Ketchum, Lava Hot Springs and McCall. Coeur d’Alene’s 1990 population was almost 25,000.

Kellogg’s bill would have allowed virtually any city to impose a local sales tax with approval from 60 percent of its voters, but for no more than 10 years and the revenue would have to be targeted for a specific purpose.

“I’m a little bit surprised,” Kellogg said. “The mood was we should give local units of government a chance to see if they wanted to tax themselves for specific infrastructure.”

Scott McDonald, executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities, said his group supported the plan.

But lobbyists for retailers, hotels and motels and small business all opposed changing the law enacted 17 years ago.

The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Associated Press Staff writer Joe Relk added to this report.