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Treasure Valley voters reject $300 million in tax hikes

Treasure Valley voters reject $300 million in tax hikes

Dustin Hurst
November 9, 2016
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November 9, 2016

Voters in Idaho’s largest urban center rejected three proposals that would have hiked their property taxes a collective $300 million.

Ada and Canyon voters turned back a College of Western Idaho bond proposal, worth $255 million, to expand its campus and construct three new buildings. The plan received 57 percent voter approval, but failed to clear the two-thirds threshold that Idaho law requires to pass bonds.

CWI President Bert Glandon found some positives in his college’s loss.

We are encouraged by the outcome,” Glandon wrote. “It’s confirmation that our friends and neighbors here in Ada and Canyon Counties recognize the value of the work being done for students at CWI.”

Still, the bond failed and Glandon said he will collaborate with his board to chart the growing school’s path forward.

“While we’re disappointed we were unable to garner the votes needed for passage, we feel it is positive that a majority of people do in fact support CWI and recognize that education is the link to sustained economic stability,” Glandon added. “We will get together now as a team and evaluate the election results and our plan moving forward, including a recommendation to our board.”

CWI’s bond failure came just days after its mailers, which touted the school’s successes, hit Ada and Canyon County mailboxes. College officials denied using the$30,000 mailer to sway the election.

Endorsements from a number of Treasure Valley mayors, plus Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, also failed to sway voters.

Meridian voters rejected two additional bond measures.By 51-to-49 percent they defeated a Western Ada Recreation District (WARD) plan to build two new pools for planned YMCA facilities. That proposal would have cost more than $27 million.

Those voters also rejected a $17 million bond proposal to build two new branches for the Meridian library district. That plan lost on a 59-to-41 percent vote count.

A few voices lauded the results Wednesday.

Shaun Wardle, a WARD commissioner, who never supported the YMCA pool plan, celebrated the vote.

“Meridian voters said no to a huge tax increase for unecessary projects,” he told IdahoReporter.com

Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman echoed Wardle’s celebratory words.

“Taxpayers are not a never-ending source of cash for governments to bilk for special interests’ pet projects,” Hoffman said. “This is a big win for young families, small businesses and residents on fixed incomes.”

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