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Tax appeals board facing double-whammy

Tax appeals board facing double-whammy

by
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
March 10, 2010
Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
Author Image
March 10, 2010

The Idaho Board of Tax Appeals is joining other state agencies in taking budget cuts, but is also seeing an increased workload. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) approved an 11 percent reduction for the board, which resolves tax disputes with county officials and the State Tax Commission. The board has seen an 11 percent increase in appeals filed this year. Legislative budget analyst Ray Houston said that combination has a double-whammy impact on the agency.

The Board of Tax Appeals would receive $450,800 in funding. It had asked for almost $100,000 more to handle its increased caseload. “This is a very, very bare bones budget for them,” said Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, who helped work on the tax appeals budget. She said lawmakers could have to come back next year and find more money to handle tax appeals. “We’re not going to cause them to get outside of what their charge is, but I think in many of these budgets, we’ve set them thinking this is going to get us through the process at least until we get back in January.” Other agencies, including the Idaho Department of Correction and Department of Health and Welfare’s catastrophic insurance fund, could also need additional money in early 2011. “This isn’t the only budget I feel we’re on a wing and a prayer on,” Ringo said. “There are certain things that have to be done, and we didn’t have any choice.”

The three members of the tax appeals board are working more than 75 days a year but being paid for fewer than 50, according to Houston. Most of the board’s work comes at the beginning of the year. Board director Susan Renfro told lawmakers that the board will miss its May 1 decision deadline for property tax disputes due to budget holdbacks.

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