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House Revenue and Taxation Committee looks into revamping 1965 urban renewal law

House Revenue and Taxation Committee looks into revamping 1965 urban renewal law

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
February 16, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
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February 16, 2010

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted Tuesday morning to debate six pieces of draft legislation dealing with urban renewal districts.

It’s part of what’s known as the Urban Revitalization Act, which was authored by the Capital City Development Corporation, and sponsored in committee by Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot.

“It’s a complete rewrite of the urban renewal law in the state of Idaho, and it attempts to break it out into different categories; one category dealing with blighted, deteriorated areas, and another category dealing with economic development,” he said.

Lake said since the urban renewal law was enacted in 1965, it has morphed from dealing with blighted areas into more of a tool for economic development.  He says the plan is to separate the two categories.

Lake said one of the problems with the law as it stands today is tax dollars are siphoned off by urban renewal agencies, which are needed by the cities.  “Right now we have urban renewal districts that stretch out for 24 years.  The entire tax base is gone to urban renewal for whatever purpose they choose, when it should have been going to city services for fire protection, police protections, things like that.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, the six pieces of draft legislation were approved and sent to print, and handed over to the Urban Renewal Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls.  Among them are proposals to require urban renewal agencies to return excess funds to the taxing districts with within the urban renewal boundaries, allowing public comment and a hearing process for urban renewal plans, and providing for elections of urban renewal agency officials.  The Smith subcommittee will decide which of the six bills should be included in the final plan.

The subcommittee will have 2-3 weeks to debate the bills before making its recommendation to the full committee.

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