House Committee Sees Property Tax Relief Bill | North West

BOISE — Idaho Rep. Charlie Shepherd, R-Pollock, introduced legislation Thursday that would help more homeowners qualify for the circuit breaker property tax relief program.

Shepherd told the House Revenue and Taxation Committee that the proposal is an attempt to “fix” a bill he voted for last year that resulted in the disqualification of hundreds of Idahoans from the program.

“It didn’t work out as well as I hoped,” Shepherd said.

Over a two-day period last May, lawmakers introduced and approved a 26-page property tax relief bill that made multiple changes to the state code.

One of the changes added a new asset limit to the circuit breaker program.

Historically, the program has provided up to $1,500 in annual property tax relief to seniors and people with disabilities, as well as people earning less than about $32,000 per year.

However, in an effort to prevent people with high-value homes from receiving taxpayer subsidies, lawmakers added a new restriction last year. To qualify for the circuit breaker, applicants now cannot own a home with an assessed value greater than 125% of the county median.

This cap comes into effect this year.

Shepherd said the State Tax Commission is still trying to calculate the number of people who will be excluded from the program due to this change. However, it certainly numbers in the hundreds statewide.

“There is an impact in every county,” he said.

In Shoshone County alone, which he represents, 91 people who previously qualified for circuit breaker will no longer be eligible, Shepherd said.

House Bill 481 would help most of them by increasing the estimated land value cap from 125% to 150%, or $300,000, whichever is greater.

Of the 91 Shoshone County residents who were disqualified, Shepherd said, 81 would be eligible for tax relief under the cap he proposes.

The bill would also be retroactive to January 1.

“If we did that, the cost to the state would be about $1.1 million,” he said. “That sounds like a lot of money to me – but when we’re dealing with a $1.9 billion surplus, I think it’s an acceptable expense to help people who have lived in the state their entire lives. , paid taxes all their life and just want to stay home.

Given the wide variance in home appraisals across Idaho, Shepherd said there’s no way to pick a “right” appraisal cap that works for everyone.

“What’s fair in Ada County would be outrageous in Shoshone County,” he said. “So I didn’t try to be fair. I tried to be reasonable, and for me, $300,000 was reasonable.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, said he was willing to introduce the bill, but wanted to shift the cost from the state to local tax districts.

“They are the ones approving the budgets that cause the problem,” he said. “The state has no property tax.”

HB 481 is the second measure introduced this week to fix the tax relief bill lawmakers approved last year.

Sen. Regina Bayer, R-Meridian, introduced similar legislation on Wednesday. His proposal would increase the circuit breaker cap from 125% to 200%. Its cost is estimated at around $1 million.

Public hearings can now take place on both bills.

Penny D. Jackson