BLACKFOOT — A couple of local leaders voiced their disappointment over the passage of House Bill 409 in the state legislature Tuesday.
If passed in the Senate, the bill would provide a limitation on taxing district budget requests and levies for the year 2020, putting a freeze on Idahoans’ property taxes, leaving property taxes to be paid at the same rate in 2020 as they were in 2019.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Moyle, a Republican from Star, has said the bill is meant to slow down the growth of property taxes, trying to force taxing districts to come to the table and find a solution, but city and county leaders in the state say it could result in a cut in services.
The bill passed in the House Tuesday by a vote of 46-23-1, with Blackfoot Rep. Julianne Young voting in favor and Blackfoot Rep. Neil Anderson voting against the measure.
Bingham County Commissioner Mark Bair and Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll were at the Greater Blackfoot Area Chamber of Commerce legislative lunch Tuesday to voice their concerns to Young, who appeared via an online feed, asking Young to explain her vote.
”I didn’t hear from any citizen with concerns about the freeze,” Young said. “I think we can do things differently and a little better. We’re asking everybody to hold on for a year until we can work out a better solution.”
Bair said the bill may portray the move as a freeze but it actually turns into a cut because local governments won’t be able to keep up with expenses.
”Inflation doesn’t freeze, and we have to deal with that,” Bair said. “This is putting a pretty dramatic freeze over everyone in Idaho and I don’t think that’s fair. You’re tying our hands (at the local government level). We’re getting more and more mandates for services, but from what I can see there will be cuts in services if this goes through.”
Carroll said he was disappointed in the House vote.
”I’ve sent you all kinds of information on how this will impact us, and I’m concerned in the services we’ll be able to provide,” he said.
Sherrilynn Bair told Young that appeared the House was sending a message that the state has more control than local government.
”This is a state problem,” Young responded. “This is a temporary measure and we hope to see it being productive.”