Bill Description: House Bill 178 would implement a redistributive property tax exemption to subsidize broadband equipment installers.
Does it transfer a function of the private sector to the government? Examples include government ownership or control of any providers of goods or services such as the Land Board’s purchase of a self-storage facility, mandatory emissions testing, or pre-kindergarten. Conversely, does it eliminate a function of government or return a function of government to the private sector?
Idaho's government has adopted a socialist view about broadband infrastructure, which is well summarized by the first three sentences in the statement of purpose for House Bill 178. It says, "The state has identified broadband as a critical need for the rural parts of our state. The Idaho Broadband Strategic Plan set a goal to connect 100% of Idaho’s businesses and homes to high-speed broadband by 2027. Meeting that goal will require a massive investment of federal and state dollars to deploy broadband, and that deployment needs to be as efficient as possible."
Installing broadband infrastructure is not a proper role of government. Full stop. If there is sufficient market demand for broadband infrastructure, its development and installation will happen organically, but the state should not incentivize, subsidize or fund this process.
House Bill 178 would create Section 63-602PP, Idaho Code, to exempt from property taxation all "qualified broadband equipment of a business entity that installs such equipment."
This property tax exemption would be implemented in pursuit of a goal that involves massively increased government intrusion into something that should be left entirely to the private sector.
Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?
In addition to the unwarranted market intrusion perpetuated by House Bill 178, there is also the issue of redistribution that is inherent in any tax policy that provides special exemptions, deductions, credits, or carve-outs to specific industries or other small subsets of taxpayers.
Tax reductions that apply proportionately to most or all taxpayers are viewed very favorably, but tax policies that benefit only a few are tools of wealth redistribution.