Idaho Gov. Brad Little speaks to members of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday. (Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)
Idaho Gov. Brad Little touted the state’s recent property tax reduction law during a luncheon with the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
This year, Idahoans will see about $300 million in property tax reductions through House Bill 292. The law creates a homeowner’s property tax relief account to provide a credit using state funds to reduce the property tax bill for owner-occupied homes that receive the homeowner’s exemption. The law also directs a portion of state funding to local school districts to pay down their bonds and levies. The law also eliminates the March election date schools used for bond and levy elections.
Little said the amount of property tax reduction Idahoans will see depends on their house, what county and taxing district it lies in and how local cities, school districts and counties set their budgets this summer.
“Right now they’re all going through their budget process,” Little told chamber members. “And then that rebate … will kick in and then you will know in November what your property tax is going to change to be. Roughly we think it’s going to be about 20%, but it’s going to vary, as property taxes do all the time.”
Little vetoed the property tax bill in March, after expressing concerns the bill could jeopardize funding for transportation projects and hurt school districts by eliminating the March election date. In response, the Idaho Legislature passed a so-called trailer bill to address the transportation funding issue and voted to override Little’s veto. Little welcomed the trailer bill and said with its passage the property tax law was done the right way.
Idaho governor touts deregulation, state’s investment in teacher pay, public school funding
During Wednesday’s luncheon, Little delivered a 22 minute speech and accepted questions from the audience for about 10 minutes. Little used the rest of his speech to highlight his efforts to deregulate the state and trim administrative rules through his red tape reduction act. He pointed to income tax cuts and rebates, the state’s Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investors Services and the state’s investments in teacher pay, public school funding and youth literacy under his administration.
After Little’s prepared remarks, a chamber executive asked about Little’s support for a potential passenger rail route between Boise and Salt Lake City.
Little said, “I am interested” when asked about the train route, but he said several overpasses and underpasses would need to be constructed in Boise and other cities to make the route workable.
“I am all for it, but I think that is going to be a big number,” Little said.
Another audience member asked the governor what programs are in the pipeline to address the continued high cost of housing throughout Idaho and the effect on the workforce recruitment and retention.
Little said Idaho is “a victim of its own success” with rapid recent growth and that increases in mortgage interest rates are adding to the cost of housing. The state is responding by investing in the infrastructure to facilitate growth and by reducing regulations, Little said.
“You have to do everything,” Little said. “You have to have the zoning, you have to have the sewer, you have to have the water, you have to have the roads and a lot of it, the hurdle is to get a building permit.”
Little, a Republican from Emmett, was elected Idaho’s 33rd governor in 2018 after previously serving as lieutenant governor and a member of the Idaho Senate. Little was re-elected to a second four-year term as governor in November.
The sold-out Boise Metro Chamber luncheon included a host of business and community leaders and elected officials, including Boise State University President Marlene Tromp, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean and several state legislators.
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