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News >  Idaho

Property tax panel finalizes hearings

Betsy Z. Russell Staff writer

BOISE – When a special legislative committee on property taxes comes to town, its members want to hear what local residents have to say – and suggest – on Idaho’s property tax crunch.

“I want to encourage people not only to come and talk, but to think about what solutions they think are possible,” said Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, co-chairwoman of the joint legislative committee.

With homeowners picking up an increasing share of Idaho’s property tax burden and property values soaring, concerns are running high around the state, and a tax-limiting initiative is in the works.

However, the property tax system is complicated, and changes intended to help some taxpayers can have unanticipated impacts on others. Idaho’s property tax goes solely to fund local government and local schools – not for state government.

The special legislative committee has now finalized the details of 12 public hearings it will hold around the state in the next month and a half, and is inviting the public to attend.

“That’s what we’re doing it for,” said Sen. Brad Little, R-Emmett, a panel member.

Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, said, “I want to encourage people to come out and tell us what they’re thinking, what they’re experiencing, what they’re hearing in their communities. I want to hear from everybody possible.”

After the hearings, which start July 27 in Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene and July 28 in Moscow and Lewiston, the committee will develop recommendations to propose to the full Legislature in January.

The panel’s official goal is to “develop a strategy to implement a property tax structure over the succeeding years that is balanced in its application and effect, that encourages economic development, that meets the revenue needs of local units of government, encourages and assists economic development and answers the concern over rising property values and property taxes.”

Committee members say everything’s on the table, including rethinking Idaho’s entire tax structure.

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