Idaho State Capitol – On Friday, the House debated amendments to Senate Bill 1277. The original legislation made changes to the application process for the Idaho homestead exemption. However, the legislation was sent to General Orders on Friday morning.

“SB 1277 was heard at the last minute this morning in House Revenue and Taxation.” Representative Ilana Rubel/(D-Boise) explained. “Republican leadership then rushed the bill to General Orders to tack on a dangerous amendment that will gut local government budgets as they brace to respond to a global health pandemic. This is beyond irresponsible. In the face of an international health crisis the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetimes, this is not the time to be stripping counties of the funds they need to respond. County officials are at the front line in a health crisis – they are responsible for emergency response programs, paramedic services, and local health districts. It defies belief at this juncture that Majority Party House members would vote to strip them of $32 million in funding that is direly needed to keep our citizens alive and healthy. There are responsible ways to provide property tax relief, but this is not it.”

“Democrats proposed an alternative amendment to increase the homestead exemption which would make commercial properties pay their fair share of property taxes.” Representative Lauren Necochea said. “One large corporation in Boise is paying $1 million less in property taxes than 10 years ago, while homeowner property taxes are growing through the roof. This shift of costs onto homeowners is not fair and we have to restore balance. Gutting our public health response capabilities during our current emergency is not the answer. Unfortunately, Republican leadership is more interested in protecting commercial real estate lobbyists than keeping Idahoans alive and well.”