Updated: Jul 21
Idaho legislators rushed to submit possible relief for the growing property tax pressure by February 13th. The 36th day of Idaho’s legislative session is the deadline for new bills to be submitted. There are currently five proposed pieces of legislation awaiting a hearing in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. One twin piece of legislation, which does not involve a tax increase, was submitted to the Senate.
Three proposals were introduced on February 2nd.
House Bill 77 was submitted by Senator C. Scott Grow (R-Eagle). The proposal would divert 4.5% of Idaho’s sales tax revenue to property tax relief. Each of the 44 counties would receive a designated property tax relief amount from the state and divide the funds among the properties. Homeowners would receive the subtraction from their property tax bill in addition to the existing homeowner exemption. The bill would not increase taxes for citizens, but the state would have a cost of $150 million annually, to offset local government costs.
Senator Grow submitted a similar piece of legislation to the Senate February 10th but proposed a budget increase of $205 million from state funds. This was Senate Bill 1075 and the bill was allowed introduction because it was not a tax increase.
House Bill 78, submitted by Representative Bruce Skaug (R-Nampa), proposes reinstating the property tax exemption as it was written pre-2016. The previous method for the existing property tax exemption was capped based on the Federal Housing Price Index (HPI) and up to 50% of the value of the home. In 2016, the Idaho legislature capped the maximum value at $125,000, instead of using the HPI. HB 78 would remove the cap and index the maximum exemption to 50% of the HPI. This would place the value at about $180,000 in 2022.
House Bill 79 was proposed by Speaker of the House Mike Moyle (R-Star). HB 79 is a multi-faceted bill that tackles school facility funding, local school board elections, and property tax relief in one pass. The bill’s property tax relief would raise the property tax exemption from $125,000 to $150,000.
On February 9th, two more similar proposals were brought forward which addressed the current property tax exemption for hospital facilities.
House Bill 109, proposed by Josh Tanner (R-Eagle) would remove the property tax exemption for outlying offices and facilities not related to the designated exemption purpose, i.e. administrative offices. The property tax exemption would remain in effect for the main hospitals statewide.
House Bill 110, also proposed by Josh Tanner (R-Eagle) would remove exemptions for hospitals throughout the state. However, the nuances of which buildings and how much would be exempted would be left up to county commissioners.
Addressing the escalating property tax pressure is a must-do for the Idaho state legislature in 2023. However, the next step for property tax relief remains to be seen as all six bills are awaiting a hearing.