Senator John McGee
Idaho State Legislature, Serving the Citizens of Caldwell, Greenleaf, and Wilder
The legislature is in the middle of the session. This assumes we will adjourn and go home near the end of March 2006. The first half has been occupied by ratification or rejection of rules by the various state agencies and the property tax issue.
The House approved eight bills in what some lawmakers consider the most sweeping property-tax reform effort in Idaho history — if the measures survive debate in the Senate.
S1299 adds to existing law relating to nonprofit timber protective associations to provide specified restrictions relating to liability of nonprofit timber protective associations while
performing contracts with the state of Idaho or any agency of the state of Idaho. The bill passed the Senate and is now heading to the House.
Lawmakers voted 69-1 to boost the amount homeowner can exempt from taxes on the assessed value of their property to $75,000, from $50,000.
The gulf was wider on a plan to make half of school maintenance and operations funding — about $125 million annually — an obligation of the state general fund, rather than property tax revenue. A half-penny sales-tax increase was approved to increase general-fund revenues. The shift passed 52-17, and the sales-tax increase 37-30.
Supporters said the three measures bring Idahoans “substantive property tax relief.” Homeowners, who now bear nearly two-thirds of Idaho’s $1.1 billion property-tax burden, will see the greatest decrease in their tax payments though other types of property owners, including commercial, agriculture, mining and timber, will see reductions as well.
Many legislators participated in the Forestry Day luncheon which was well attended by our elected officials and a professionally done video produced by the Idaho Forest Product Commission was presented. It was a great event and demonstrated the importance of our industry to the Idaho elected officials.