2022 IAC Legislative Priorities

29 Dec 2021, by Sara Westbrook Share :

Property tax continues to be a hot button issue across the state. The IAC Legislative Committee recognizes there are only two ways to provide property tax relief to homeowners:

First, expand property tax exemptions for homeowners which results in a property tax shift to businesses and farms. Second, provide other non-property tax revenue sources in lieu of property taxes.

With that point in mind, IAC’s Legislative Committee chose to prioritize four policies for the 2022 legislative session. These legislative priorities were selected from those voted on by the membership at the IAC Annual Conference in September:

IGA-01 Affordable Housing: IAC is working closely with the Governor to support both short-term and long-term affordable housing solutions. Increased homeownership would result in more taxpayers which could aid in buying down the levy rate, which would result in some property tax relief.

IGA-04: Vape Tax: Allow vaping products to be taxed at the same rate as tobacco products. A portion of the tax would be set aside for public schools. Another portion would be set aside for juvenile probation services. This would provide alternate revenue sources for funding which could result in some property tax relief.

IGA-05: Property Tax Relief Fund: Allow Board of County Commissioners to create a property tax relief fund using a county sales and use tax upon voter approval. This would be set for up to 10 years. Part of this alternate revenue would be set aside in a property tax relief fund. The other portion would be used for capital projects.

Over time, this could provide both direct and indirect property tax relief for all property taxpayers in the county. The sales tax revenues in the property tax relief fund would be used to buy down the property tax levy providing direct property tax relief for all property taxpayers. The sales tax revenues used to pay for capital projects would provide indirect property tax relief since sales tax revenue would be used for the projects instead of additional property tax dollars.

While IAC recognizes that this is not a solution for all counties, for many counties with tourists passing through, this could provide significant property tax relief. Similar legislation was in place in the early 2000s. Both Nez Perce County and Kootenai County used the law to build jails. The law had a sunset clause which went into effect in 2009.

JPS-02: State Based Public Defense: County Commissioners across the state are working closely together to come up with a solution that works for all counties. IAC is looking closely at changes to three main points in the system.

  1. Change the Public Defense Commission (PDC) structure to have more county and public defender voices on the PDC.
  2. Pursue additional state funding options for public defense to provide property tax relief.
  3. Establish a regional based public defense delivery model which would remove county responsibility.