Boise, ID—Today, the Idaho Freedom Foundation announced a lawsuit against the city of Boise regarding its abuse of the urban renewal process. The Idaho Freedom Foundation, the state’s leading voice for taxpayers, asserts that Boise is violating Idaho’s Constitution through urban renewal.
The Idaho Constitution requires that local government entities receive a two-thirds endorsement from voters before taking on debt. IFF contends, constitutionally-required voter approval of new debt is avoided when Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and the city council use urban renewal mechanisms.
IFF believes a recent example of a constitutional end-run occurred in December when city councilors approved the formation of two urban renewal districts that will collectively take on $120 million in debt.
“Boise, through its abuse of urban renewal, is shutting out taxpayers to fund expensive pet projects,” IFF President Wayne Hoffman said. “The people who pay the bills, hardworking Idahoans, should have the opportunity to vote on debt-funded projects, as laid out in the Idaho Constitution.”
IFF filed the suit on behalf of six Ada County property owners: Hoffman, Bob Tikker, Andrea Lanning, IFF Vice President Fred Birnbaum, Bruce Boyles, and G&G Ventures, a Boise-based small business.
“Taxpayers are reeling and career politicians aren’t listening,” Hoffman added. “If we are successful, we will not only protect Ada County taxpayers, but property owners throughout Idaho who suffer at the hands of career politicians and unelected public servants.”
John Runft, a founding partner of Runft & Steele with nearly five decades of practice experience in Idaho, filed the case for IFF and the six taxpayers.
“The framers of our Idaho Constitution granted the qualified electors of the political subdivision the constitutional right to vote upon whether the subdivision could incur indebtedness or liabilities. These citizen taxpayers are the ones who would bear the consequences of the subdivision incurring excessive indebtedness,” said Runft.