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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Bill Would Cut N. Idaho Taxes

If the state Senate passes Gov. Phil Batt’s property tax relief bill, North Idahoans would pay $6.2 million less in property taxes.

The tax plan was approved 5-4 by the Senate’s Local Government and Taxation Committee on Monday. The bill, which passed the House last week, is expected to go to a vote by the Senate in the next few days.

Batt’s bill would limit the amount of money school districts can collect for maintenance and operations, so-called “M and O” levies. The state would pay the difference out of its general fund, most of which comes from the state’s personal income tax and sales tax. School districts would lose nothing.

The cap on school districts would remain the same, despite increasing property values. Thus, this year’s $40 million in statewide tax relief would increase to $44 million in 1996 and $47.5 million in 1997.

“This bill puts an ongoing responsibility on the general fund. But that responsibility is now on the property owner,” said Michael Ferguson, chief economist for the state’s Division of Financial Management.

Under Batt’s bill, residents in North Idaho’s 12 school districts next year would see these specific amounts of property tax relief:

St. Maries: $211,007;

Plummer-Worley: $202,565;

Bonner County: $1,631,857;

Boundary County: $321,606;

Coeur d’Alene: $2,243,720;

Lakeland: $516,273;

Post Falls: $567,512;

Kootenai: $127,796;

Kellogg: $211,638;

Mullan: $29,054;

Wallace: $124,780;

Avery: $67,965.