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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Audit of Spokane County assessor’s office finds late appraisals

The Spokane County assessor’s office undervalued scores of properties for years, according to a state audit for 2008 and 2009. The report released Monday says new construction on 157 properties in the Cheney area was added to the tax rolls seven years late on average during the two-year audit period. Seventy-one of the parcels had a value of more than $100,000, according to the state auditor’s office.

Democratic lawmaker: ‘Professionalize’ Idaho’s tax panel

BOISE - Idaho Rep. Wendy Jaquet plans to introduce sweeping legislation to reform Idaho’s state Tax Commission, shifting it from an agency run by four full-time political appointees to one run by a professional director with a part-time commission. “It is high time to professionalize the commission,” said Jaquet, D-Ketchum, noting that it’s been plagued by whistleblower allegations of sweetheart deals for influential taxpayers, plus an ongoing dispute with elected county assessors over property tax rules.

Pending tax deals could cost Idaho $75 million

Idaho stands to lose more than $75 million just from tax compromises that are now in the works, according to a group of whistleblowers who are current and former employees of the state Tax Commission - including one $203,000 tax break about to be handed to a taxpayer on his $7 million private plane.

Lawmakers steamed over tardy tax report

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers are losing patience with the state Tax Commission, which hasn’t filed a required report on secret tax deals for corporations. A whistleblower alleged last year that the panel was cutting the deals to excuse millions in taxes for large corporate taxpayers.

Senators: Tax Commission needs reform

Idaho's state Tax Commission hasn't complied with the recommendations in a state report that followed a whistleblower's allegations that the panel was cutting secret deals to excuse millions in taxes for large corporate taxpayers, and lawmakers showed Thursday that they're losing patience. "We've got to do something about this. It's been five months," Senate Tax Chairman Brent Hill told Tax Commission Chairman Royce Chigbrow.

Secret tax deals legal, says Wasden

BOISE – Idaho’s attorney general has concluded there was nothing illegal about secret tax deals struck by the state Tax Commission with large multistate corporations to excuse them from paying part of their Idaho taxes. Key lawmakers greeted Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s legal opinion with relief, but said they now need to examine whether Idaho’s laws should be changed.

County money transfer questioned

Spokane County Prosecutor Steve Tucker has been asked to investigate an allegedly illegal transfer of money from a Building and Planning Department account to the county's general fund. In a "whistleblower" letter delivered to Tucker's office Tuesday, attorney Aaron Lowe says at least $1 million was "supposedly" appropriated from the department to help balance the 2008 county budget. The transfer was initially called a borrowing, he says.

Planning director’s complaint investigated

An outside investigator says there is no merit to Spokane County Building and Planning Director Jim Manson's whistle-blower complaint against the planner who successfully blew the whistle on him. Manson's Oct. 18 complaint involved a Memorial Day weekend e-mail exchange between planner Bruce Hunt and County Commissioner Bonnie Mager, using their personal e-mail accounts.