We are starting to hear rumblings about assessing property taxes on the Idaho Department of Lands for its commercial enterprises like the 10 Barrel Brew Pub and Affordable Storage operations in Boise.
If the legislature abolishes the personal property tax, it will devastate local cities, counties and schools–more so in smaller counties that lean heavily on personal property tax payments.
Some folks are contemplating legislation to either somehow tax the state on its commercial properties–based on USE of the property rather than exempt government ownership. It would probably take a constitutional amendment to accomplish that goal, but the state as a matter of policy could agree to pay FEES IN LIEU OF TAXES.
That’s what is happening on a nationwide basis.
Writes the Star-Tribune: Boston now requires its biggest nonprofits to collectively pay millions of dollars “in lieu of taxes.” Madison, Wis., is considering the same. In Minnesota, home to one of the nation’s most vibrant nonprofit sectors, cities are taking other steps. A city’s amount of tax-free land varies widely, from about 25 to 30 percent in Minneapolis and St. Paul to more than two-thirds in places like Falcon Heights, the Minnesota League of Cities reports.
When you toss in the 500 acres of downtown Boise within an urban renewal district, the amount of property that is either exempt or has diverted revenues, means Boise residents provide a tremendous amount of free services. It goes for everything from street lights to fire protection for churches and multi-million dollar institutions like schools, hospitals, and BSU which pay no taxes. It is probably time of these folks to pay their share of fire protection.
It isn’t without precedent, even here in Boise. The Feds pay Boise City an annual fee for fire protection at the VA and military reserve on Fort St., but the state of Idaho gets free service for the Capitol Mall, BSU and more. BSU pays for coppers, but not for firefighters.
It is time for the “Great State of Boise” to get some revenues from those who consume the services in the form of fees.
To insure more advertising-free Boise Guardian news, please consider financial support.