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Batt Promises To Create Change In Property Tax Governor Says He’ll Work With Legislators To Curb Growth

Thu., Nov. 7, 1996

Encouraged by rejection of the latest One Percent Initiative, Gov. Phil Batt says he will work on changes in Idaho tax policy in the next session of the Legislature.

Although he didn’t go into specifics, the governor said Wednesday he will work with legislators on some way to curb the rapid growth in property taxes in some areas.

Ron Rankin’s latest initiative, aimed at limiting property taxes to 1 percent of taxable value, was rejected by about 65 percent of the voters in Tuesday’s election.

Regardless, Rankin said he plans to prepare a new initiative by the first week of January and try again.

Batt led the drive against the 1996 initiative, claiming it was based on false premises.

“I believe that even though the initiative was pretty soundly defeated, there is reason for concern with taxes,” the governor said.

“Some people’s property taxes have risen far too rapidly. Particularly, some people have been forced out of their homes by rising property taxes in some of the areas where the valuations have increased very rapidly,” he said.

Batt said he will try to address that problem.

“I won’t guarantee any results but I intend to address it very vigorously with the cooperation of legislators,” he said.

After he was elected in 1994, the governor carried out a campaign promised by pushing a $40 million reduction in local property taxes used to fund public schools.

This year, he said there wasn’t enough money in the state treasury to continue the tax reduction.

In September, Batt ordered a 2.5 percent holdback in state spending, a cut of $35 million, because state tax revenue fell below projections due to a slow-down in the microchip industry.

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