Senate Bill 1108 is currently working its way through Idaho legislation. The sponsor says it will provide ongoing property tax relief to Idaho homeowners.
NAMPA, Idaho – Senate Bill 1108 was introduced to the Idaho Senate about ten days ago and is currently awaiting its third reading. The bill was drafted to give owners a much needed tax break.
While something needs to be done to provide tax breaks to property owners, many elected officials believe it is not.
SB 1108 changes the formula for the growth of property tax budgets and relieves owners of property tax increases.
“What it does is take that 25% and reduce the rate at which people’s property taxes go up and calculate some of those tax increases,” said Senator Jim Rice (R-Caldwell), the bill’s sponsor.
The state allows tax districts to increase property tax by 3% annually based on property value. This increase can be influenced by new buildings, so this calculation uses this to the advantage of the homeowner.
“Your appreciation is not going to cause your taxes to rise faster than 3%, and new buildings will make your property taxes rise less than 3%,” said Rice.
SB 1108 would take 75% of that new home tax and send it to the city for their general fund budget. The other 25% would go to the owners as property tax relief.
“No city has a reduction in its budget,” said Rice. “No fire department has a reduction in its budget, no county has a reduction, and nobody’s budget is actually cut.”
The city of Nampa sees it differently, especially since its fire brigade was only annexed by the Nampa fire protection district at the end of last year.
“The way this bill is written, we couldn’t move the entire budget of the Nampa City Fire Department to the Nampa Fire Department,” said Kirk Carpenter, chief executive of Nampa Fire.
This is due to this 75% annex clause in the invoice. Nampa Fire has only five fire stations in the Nampa District, covering 130,000 people, and they are already about 30 firefighters behind the national average in terms of staffing.
“In the best case, as the bill is written, we would see at least one fire station closed and up to 20 firefighters on leave,” said Carpenter. “In the worst case, all but one or two of our stations would be closed and over 50% of our employees would be on leave.”
The mayor of Nampa, Debbie Kling, echoed this sentiment.
“We should be able to get all the new buildings into town, they don’t raise taxes,” she said. “New growth does not raise taxes and new growth should be allowed to fund growth and services.”
If Nampa can’t get any money from the new building, property taxes would have to be increased to run the town. However, Rice said the bill wouldn’t cut a city’s budget, but it could mean they’ll have to move money.
Kling suggested lawmakers should consider increasing the homeowner’s exemption, which is currently $ 100,000. However, Rice said property values are rising too fast and the state will have to re-examine this issue every year.
The Treasure Valley Partnership has assembled a panel of 20 different mayors and county officials who oppose this bill. They will all share their opposition during a Zoom meeting on Thursday at 10 a.m.