Bill Description: Senate Bill 1060 would add public schools and school districts to the list of government entities that can impose impact fees on developers.
Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?
The rationale behind impact fees is that new developments will impose certain costs to existing infrastructure, and the developer of the land should pay for them. The most obvious problem with this logic is that developments increase the value of the land, which increases the property taxes on the land. Those increased taxes should, in time, cover the services and infrastructure required by the development.
Nevertheless, a host of government entities are authorized to collect impact fees from developers to defray the costs they claim development creates for them. These entities include highway districts, fire districts, ambulance districts, water districts, sewer districts, recreational water and sewer districts and irrigation districts.
Senate Bill 1060 would amend Sections 67-8203, 67-8204A, and 50-3102, Idaho Code, to add public schools and school districts to the list of government entities that can require impact fees from developers.
This represents a substantial money grab from entities that do not face any direct increases in demand from new development. While a new subdivision, for example, may require wider roads or bigger pipes even before anyone moves in and starts paying property taxes, empty houses create no demand on a school system. Moreover, commercial development, which can disproportionately increase the use of certain services, will not increase demand on a school system. Only the arrival of new taxpayers (and even then, only those with school age children) can increase demand on a school system. Those new residents will be paying taxes at the same rate as those in existing developments.
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?
Allowing public schools and school districts to impose impact fees on developers will result in an increase in fees.
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?
As is the case with most government taxes and fees, impact fees charged to developers are largely passed on to the end consumer. This is, in effect, double taxation. The problem is felt particularly in new residential development. New home buyers are forced to pay twice — once in impact fees and again in property taxes — for access to the same school system those in existing developments pay for only once through their property taxes.