The Great Idaho Income Tax Façade
Sometimes you get what you want; sometimes, you get what you need. During the opening days of the Idaho Legislature, the governor and his allies tell us what we're going to get and what we need. As was reported by several outlets yesterday, the House Revenue and Taxation Committee rubber-stamped the governor's wish list for the most significant income tax cut in state history.
Several committee members spoke out in favor of a property tax reduction. Idahoans overwhelmingly have asked their elected officials for years to reduce the continued escalating property taxes in the Gem State. One Canyon County resident complained that his property taxes have risen by over twenty-eight percent in one year. Still, during this legislative cycle, there appears to be no movement to address the concerns that many Idahoans will have to sell their homes because they can't afford to pay their property taxes.
The Idaho Press broke down how some if any, real Idahoans benefited from the last year's record tax break. "It appears that only the wealthy benefitted from the previous year's gesture. Last year's rebates set a minimum of $50, so this year's marks a 50% increase. However, according to Idaho State Tax Commission figures obtained by the Idaho Press, last year's rebates went to 706,294 Idaho tax filers, and more than half — 365,295 — received only the minimum amount. That meant a total of $38 million was handed out in rebates to lower-income Idahoans, while higher earners received $166.7 million."
Why are Idaho politicians not listening to their constituents? The answer would be that it is easier to pass an income tax cut than addressing the alarming issue of property taxes in Idaho. As we witnessed last year, the efforts by the legislature were met with fierce resistance from local cities throughout the state.
It is easier to run for election or reelection touting the big tax cut while avoiding a critical but turbulent issue of property tax reform. The sad commentary on the quick move for the income tax cut proves a narrative that all Idahoans have feared. If they really want something done, they do it at the beginning of the session. For years and years, politicians would wait until the end of the session to address challenging issues.
They would then 'claim' that time had run out to make a change. It appears our hopes for changing Idaho's Draconian property tax code will share the same fate.
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