Gov. Little’s Signing of H735 Provides Historic Public Defense Funding & Ongoing Property Tax Relief

5 Apr 2022, by Sara Westbrook Share :

The Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) applauds Legislative Leaders and Governor Little for taking bold action on public defense reform by passing House Bill 735.

“House Bill 735 provides historic reform regarding how public defense is funded,” says Seth Grigg, IAC Executive Director. “Instead of counties footing the bill using property tax dollars, state sales tax will be utilized to pay for public defense. This not only ensures consistent public defense funding across the state, it also provides around $33 million in ongoing property tax relief.”

“We are grateful to Governor Little for signing House Bill 735 into law. We also appreciate House Majority Leader Mike Moyle and Representative Jon Weber for shepherding this historic legislation through the House,” says Grigg. “We express gratitude to Senator Todd Lakey for carrying this bill in the Senate as well as Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon and Senator Jeff Agenbroad for helping steer needed amendments that lead to the passage of H735. Property tax relief and properly funded public defense were clearly priorities to Governor Little and these legislators.”

“As a county commissioner, I have been working on public defense reform for the past decade,” says Boundary County Commissioner Dan Dinning. “This is a huge step in the right direction for providing consistent public defense across the state.”

“We do what we can with conservative budgeting, but there are also certain state requirements that counties are responsible for which puts some limits on what we can do regarding property taxes,” says Canyon County Commissioner Keri Smith. “I am excited to see the state take on the funding responsibility for public defense allowing for ongoing property tax relief.”

“This bill will provide much needed property tax relief across the state which should not be overlooked, especially with the ongoing difficulties that many Idahoans are having with their property taxes,” says House Majority Leader Mike Moyle. “Getting this bill across the finish line took a lot of robust discussion and compromise. I’m glad we were able to work with our friends across the rotunda to get this done.”

“Providing adequate public defense is guaranteed in the Idaho Constitution,” says Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon. “Establishing this consistent funding source for public defense while reducing property taxes is a huge win for Idahoans from all walks of life.”

“Public defense reform will not end with this altered funding stream,” says Grigg. “We are eager to work with other stakeholders across the state to discuss the future of Idaho Public Defense which will likely include an array of options.”

Please reach out to IAC policy director Sara Westbrook with questions: swestbrook@idcounties.org

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