Community Blog: The EDge

Your daily personal property tax update (REWRITTEN)

(REWRITTEN, 4:58 p.m. to reflect this afternoon’s news.)

A new bill is in the hopper to repeal — at least partially — the personal property tax levied against business equipment, supplies and furnishings.

The Idaho Association of Counties is again taking the lead on House Bill 315. The counties have been working with cities, the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators on a bill to reduce the unpopular tax — but limit the impact on local governments. School districts collected an estimated $38.6 million in personal property taxes in 2012.

HB 315 would allow businesses an exemption on the first $100,000 in personal property. Businesses wouldn’t have to pay the tax on new purchases of items costing less than $3,000 (the counties’ original bill allowed a break on items up to $1,500). HB 315 would cover personal property and businesses’ operating property.

This would amount to a $20 million tax cut, up slightly from the $18 million to $19 million cost of the counties’ House Bill 272. That is still much more modest that a $120 million repeal sought by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry.

In a hastily called meeting Monday, the House Ways and Means Committee voted to introduce HB 315. The brief meeting drew an audience of several lobbyists — although, conspicuously, no IACI representatives.

The Idaho Association of Counties worked with legislators and other stakeholders on the rewrite, but not with IACI, said Seth Grigg of the counties’ group.

Another interesting sidelight is that the bill started through Ways and Means — a House leadership committee that meets sporadically — as opposed to the House Revenue and Taxation Committee.

Rev and Tax will get its turn with the bill, and soon. A committee hearing is slated for 7:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Kevin Richert is a reporter and blogger at Idaho Education News (idahoednews.org). Kevin is a former Statesman editorial page editor, with 27 year's experience in Idaho journalism.

Posted in The EDge