HB 487 - Bond and levy elections

HB 487 - Bond and levy elections

by
Phil Haunschild
February 12, 2018
Phil Haunschild
February 12, 2018

Bill description: HB 487 would prohibit taxing districts from putting bond or levy elections up for a vote more than once per year.

Rating: +2

Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability? 


Currently, taxing districts in Idaho can go before their voters four times annually (March, May, August, and November) to ask for the passage of bonds or levies. If passed, bonds and levies increase the property-tax assessed on property-owners within the district and are used to supplement the revenue of taxing districts (e.g., school districts, counties, cities, fire districts, etc.).

HB 487 would prohibit taxing districts from taking the same type of request to their voters more than once per year. In the past, after the failure of a vote, some districts have gone to their voters with identical requests three more times in a calendar year before the voters finally approved the measure. Allowing districts to repeatedly place the same, or similar, measure before voters multiple times creates a perverse incentive for them to request more than needed and in the event it fails, to either retry the same amount with a different group of voters, or to try a reduced amount that might be approved.

(+1)

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt? Conversely, does it decrease government spending or debt? 


By reducing the frequency of votes that go before voters, HB 477 would save taxpayers from the costs to operate polling places. Currently, if taxing districts put the same item up for a vote four times a year it could quadruple the costs to manage the elections, especially when said votes are held during off-cycle elections, such as in August and March, without anything else to vote for on the ballot.

(+1)

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