City Government

Where To Find More Local Tax Revenue

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.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Some of these non profit groups need to be added to the taxable roles to.

  2. chicago sam
    Feb 4, 2013, 10:46 am

    Tax political contributions to candidates as income–or force them to turn over the balance when they are no longer in office. Tax internet sales to provide a more level buisness enviornment. Sales tax could be cut in half if exemptions were removed. When a fire truck or police call is made to property put a fee on it as the ambulance does, especially for property that is unoccupied and no security–Privatize licker sales so that the profits and buildings can be taxed– just suggestions but the list is endless

  3. “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.”
    Editor, you are right. Multimillion-dollar outfits even if they are non-profit should not be receiving free services. They
    need to share the joy!

  4. Diane Sower
    Feb 4, 2013, 2:45 pm

    Try a flat tax for a couple of years. Get rid of Tom Luna, as he’s cost the schools millions with his goofy ideas like “clickers.”

  5. Tax soda pop and bottled water. It’s not like anyone needs it. Total luxury.

  6. Rod in SE Boise
    Feb 4, 2013, 5:27 pm

    The only tax anywhere in this country (federal, state and/or local) should be the income tax. It should be steeply progressive and dividends, capital gains, and inheritances should be taxed as ordinary income.

    We need to do away with sales taxes, property taxes, and any other taxes other than on income.

  7. Grumpy ole guy
    Feb 4, 2013, 9:41 pm

    Non-profit (charitable, governmental and religious) organizations should be compelled to pay taxes on any for-profit activity on their properties.

  8. Is Team Dave planning to make Boise into a high-end resort destination? A tourist stepping off spot of sorts? Or even a destination with massive investment in Bogus? With a tramway from Downtown, expanding the acreage, and lots of snow-making, Bogus could be on the map. Easy air transportation access is typically the limiting problem with resorts and Boise has no problem that way. And for Spring/Summer/Fall there is so much more can be done to exploit the nearby wilderness areas. However, we still have a hick-town image which is obvious about a hundred feet past the airport, so we need to get some high-end swanky digs started and isolated from the service-employee housing areas. The geography of the Wood River Valley is perfect for separating the servants from the swanky… not sure how to do that here.

  9. I’m sure the non profits are familiar with paying utilities. Why not property taxes? Their buildings have the same likelihood of burning down. Their employees wear down the roads at the same rate as us private sector folk.

    Bottom line if a “charity” pays salaries then they cease being a charity. The act of drawing a salary in a charitable cause does not make someone charitable. If someone makes money from the land that the charitable enterprise sits on then tax it appropriately. Even a smaller rate, but the idea that all charities are entitled to tax exemption is flawed. Not all charities are created equal, taxing them might weed out the riff raff.

  10. Zippo-not a bad idea! With that GBAD tax (5% hotel tax) and $10mil+ in GBAD’s account-the City could easily persuade GBAD to pay for tourism upgrades. City has already “persuaded” the BCVB to now be a part of the Chamber (dumb) and no convention center expansion in our lifetime…maybe some improvements…”build and they will come”…is a much better opportunity than the present debacle. Then again…what makes sense NEVER seems to come to fruit.

  11. Or the city could just cut back on what elected officials are paid lol
    that’ll be the day!!!

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