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House Bill 235

House Bill 235

Phil Haunschild
March 7, 2017

Bill Description: This bill would lower the threshold for property tax exemptions and would provide a higher level of uniformity across counties.

Rating: +1

Does it directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments? Conversely, does it eliminate or reduce any taxes, fees, or other assessments?

This bill would lower the threshold for receiving property tax exemptions for new investments from $3 million to $500,000. Counties would still retain the ability to set the limit at higher than this amount, but it could be set as low as this new amount. This lower threshold would incentivize new businesses to bring operations to Idaho or expand existing facilities, as they show that “the plant investment will bring significant economic benefits to the county.” This policy still allows counties to choose winners and losers. (-1)

Does it violate the principle of equal protection under the law? Examples include laws which discriminate or differentiate based on age, gender, or religion or which apply laws, regulations, rules, or penalties differently based on such characteristics. Conversely, does it restore or protect the principle of equal protection under the law?

This bill would require that the same investment threshold be applied “at all project sites within the county for which the exemption and all exemptions thereafter granted shall apply, thereby providing uniformity to all taxpayers.” This will protect individuals from a county which might favor certain businesses over others; a more level playing field would be established. (+1)

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?

Under this bill, “the board of county commissioners shall hold a public meeting regarding whether to grant the exemption.” This would ensure the public has the opportunity to offer input on each exemption. This would keep the government accountable to the wishes of the community in determining how these businesses or investments in property might affect their community. However, the bill also allows the government to hold an executive session on the merits of a project. (+1)

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