On Friday, the Property Tax and Revenue Outlook Study Committee held its first meeting in Boise. Transparency in local government budgeting was the primary focus of the first meeting. Committee members heard presentations from staff from Legislative Services Office and the State Controller’s Office who discussed various reporting requirements for local governments, difficulty in comparing local government budget data because of lack of uniformity in budgeting, and the state’s efforts to publish state budget information on Transparent Idaho (https://transparent.idaho.gov/transparentidaho/Pages/home.aspx). Transparency will be one of the committee’s main focuses. As a result, one of the legislative proposals coming out of the committee will likely be a standardized financial reporting portal on the State Controller’s website, including requirements to report programmatic budgets and rainy day and cash reserve balances.
The next study committee meeting will take place on Friday, August 21st in Boise. At that meeting, local government officials will be asked to present on areas where services are duplicated across jurisdictions as well as services required by Idaho code that are provided in an inefficient manner. Future topics will also include the annual assessment process, ways to control the growth in annual assessment increases, ways to address property tax shifting, and the overall property tax budgeting structure. Many committee members have acknowledged that the committee has an historic opportunity to address perceived problems in the property tax system. Committee members will explore ways to provide meaningful property tax relief and invite local elected officials to come to then table with ideas for improving the system. County officials have an opportunity to meet with their legislators over the summer and fall to discuss the county budget process, including revenues and expenditures, to brainstorm on solutions. Please take the time to have meaningful discussions with your legislators, particularly if your legislator serves on the study committee.