The Idaho Legislature is likely to adjourn this week still needing to resolve a number of issues including a plan for teacher salaries and making a decision regarding Governor Otter’s tax cut proposal. If Governor Otter’s bill passed, the maximum individual income tax rate imposed on individuals would be reduced from 7.8% to 7.4%, and the maximum corporate income tax rate would be reduced from 7.6% down to 7.4% - a proposal the REALTORS Association supports.
On the bright side, Idaho is finally seeing tax surpluses which give us the opportunity to continue moving Idaho into the national spotlight in terms of being one of the most business friendly states in the Country.
Some of the bills we have supported;
HB 519 Site Improvements:
There has been a longstanding issue of developers paying property taxes on partially developed property. This change keeps land being developed taxed at the platted lot rate until the lots are bought or built on. This change will help spur development and protect developers, whose projects have been delayed by the construction downturn, from being overly taxed ultimately allowing for projects on hold to move forward without penalty.
HB 539 The Idaho Video Services Act:
Establishes a process for the issuance of a state franchise and allows the entry of new providers of video service into Idaho. The current video service franchising process requires that new entrants in the market negotiate with each individual city and county as a pre-condition to being able to provide video services within the individual local jurisdictions, an inefficient process. We’ve supported this legislation to promote broadband capabilities which will directly benefit economic development in the state.
HB 469 Elevator Safety Code Act:
Compliance with some of the modernization requirements for elevators when remodeling a building presents significant financial problems to building owners attempting to attract new tenants or business. This change only requires upgrades when the cost of the alteration or upgrade is less than $5,000 (unless there is a specific safety or ADA compliance issue) keeping building expenses practical and allowing costs to remain reasonable.
HB 584a Property Tax/Homeowners Exemption
This law changes the Idaho homestead property tax exemption statute to ensure that properties qualified as a homestead and have property tax exemption to remain tax exempt in the case of the death of the owner. The change specifically impacts the year of and the year following the death of the owner allowing the estate time to settle affairs without losing the exemption.
Controversial issues are always prevalent in the legislature, but Idaho continues to look stronger than ever going forward.
Miguel Legarreta, Director of Public Policy
Ada County Association of REALTORS®