During the 2020 session the Idaho Legislature, responding to taxpayers complaints concerning the extreme annual increase in residential property tax, developed and fumbled two bills. One of which would have partially stopped the tax increase and freeze taxes for one year to fix the problem was generated in the House and one that would have actually increased the tax burden, came from the Senate. Neither passed.
While working closely on the issue the Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Committee (CCCCC) supported the House Bill, however most of our committee opposed the Senate Bill sponsored by Senator Rice of Caldwell.
What became apparent was the nearly absolute misunderstanding of our legislators concerning property taxation, the application and the structure thereof which the Senate bill clearly displayed. Because of this fiasco which cost Canyon County qualified homeowners in excess of $14 million in property taxes for 2020 and will again in 2021, the legislature formed an Interim Committee entitled the “Property Tax Working Group” (PTWG). The intent was to study this debacle and develop the cause and cure. Unfortunately with Senator Rice as co-chairman they failed.
Their first of six meetings occurred 7-17-2020 and the most recent 11-19-2020. The agendas, discussion and names of this committee can be found at this site, https://legislature.idaho.gov/sessioninfo/2020/interim/ptre/ . (The dialogue/minutes, from the last three meetings has not been recorded.)
This committee did discuss and prepare legislative drafts to update the Circuit Breaker and to allow schools to use impact fees. They also discussed and support a new state data base, “Transparent Idaho”, which will clearly explain and identify all property tax so that the confusion witnessed this past year will not be repeated.
The reason the PTWG was formed, to resolve and correct the recent increase in residential property tax from 10-30% annually was only discussed during the third session and then basically overlooked. They failed to develop an opinion nor did they discuss legislation that would correct this problem.
How did this problem occur?
During the legislative session of 2016, the legislature passed a bill that allowed the first $100,000 or 50% whichever was less of the assessed value of a home to be exempted from taxation. Residences at that time reportedly paid 44.8% of the state’s total property taxes. The residential exemption was capped at that rate, when the recent rapid rise of home prices began, but Commercial and Agricultural values flattened or fell. This caused the massive increase of residential value to carry up to 70-80% of the property tax burden.
We advised the PTWG that removing the 2016 cap on value and allowing a 50% exemption on the average valued home, not statewide, but within each county annually would shift the undue property tax burden back toward the commercial and agriculture share and rebalance the three categories which would
reduce the tax burden on residential up to 30% in the higher valued counties. As they did not do this, qualified homeowners have paid an estimated $14 million in extra property tax in Canyon and $38 million more in Ada Counties during 2020 than they should have and will again in 2021. What can you do?
As citizens and Taxpayers, it would help them focus on this if you the citizens, would email your legislators on this issue. You will find the email addresses of all legislators at these sites.
Tags: Concerned Citizens of Canyon County Committee, Jim Rice, property taxes, Ron Harriman