GOVERNOR OTTER: LAWMAKERS MAY NOT COME UP WITH A PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX PLAN THIS YEAR

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Molly Messick reports:  Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter this morning told a crowd of county officials he’s not sure the Legislature will be able to come up with a plan to eliminate Idaho’s personal property tax.

“Whether we’re going to get anything done this year or not, I can’t predict that,” he said. “There’s probably more options out there than there are legislators.”

Otter spoke at a conference of the Idaho Association of Counties. County leaders and other local officials have been some of the most vocal opponents to doing away with Idaho’s tax on business personal property, given the effect that tax cut could have on local government. The $140 million the tax brings in annually funds local services. 

The governor noted the range of ideas that have been on the table, from phasing the tax out over a period of years to replacing some of the lost tax dollars by improving the state’s process for collecting taxes on internet sales. He also said he’s “painfully aware” of what eliminating the business personal property tax could mean in areas that derive a sizable fraction of their revenue from the tax.

Otter called on lawmakers to create a plan for getting rid of Idaho’s tax on business personal property in his State of the State address last month. He also included $20 million in his budget to offset the local impacts of cutting the tax. Lawmakers have yet to put forth a bill.

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