City Government

Bad News: Property Taxes Rise Over 30% In Past 4 Years

We are in much deeper economic trouble than it would appear when we take a close look at property taxes in Ada County.

The Daily Paper’s Cynthia Sewell filed a TAX STORY Thursday which was accurate enough, but didn’t sound the alarm we should all be hearing.

Sewell properly noted that property values are going down, but tax LEVIES are increasing just to keep local governments at or near their historic levels of revenue (and services).

What this means is your taxes, AS A PERCENT OF VALUE have increased at least 30% in the past four years. Simply put, if the value of your real estate has DECLINED and you continue to pay the same dollar amount, your taxes have in fact INCREASED by the same percentage as the decline.

Put another way, if you have $100 in the bank and earn $10 interest, the return (tax) is 10%. If the deposit is lowered to $50 and you get the same $10 return, the interest rate (tax) is increased to 20%.

Boise used to depend on unbridled growth to fund government. This resulted in low taxes as a percentage of property value which made the city “business friendly.” Those days are gone. Times are much worse than they appear at first blush.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. BrandenDurst
    Sep 16, 2011, 8:32 am

    I’m sure glad Senator Risch took the opportunity to be Governor so that he could provide “immediate and permanent” tax relief and it only cost us one more penny in sales tax.

  2. I really dislike property tax, primarily because, at least for homeowners, the value of your property has little to do with either your ability to pay or the cost of providing services to you. However, if your out of pocket expenses don’t change.. your taxes didn’t change either.

  3. David Zarkin
    Sep 16, 2011, 9:27 am

    Indeedy do this is the story everywhere including the Twin Cities. You want fire, police, parks, libraries, schools,sewers and a liveable community you need to pay the price. Otherwise, move ot Uganda. Dave Zarkin, The Idaho Kid

  4. In this inflationary era–contrary to what the govt tells us–price inflation of necessaries like food and gasoline is putting our expenses way out of pocket. But then food and petrol are not included in the official national inflation index. Go figure, eh?

  5. gracious … if they don’t raise taxes, how are they going to pay for the retreats???

  6. BINGO! I have never lived anywhere in which a massive tax increase on folk who have suffered major loses in wealth would be so poorly reported. My Home was offered at $219K I bought it at $199 and today it is worth maybe $150K….YET the total tax has gone UP…

    Worse, they hide the numbers with a host of ‘taxing authorities’ and a system too complicated to understand. Even in the lefts Liberal nirvana’s of the east and west coast, a 40% tax increase on poor folk would get a reaction.

  7. Rod in SE Boise
    Sep 16, 2011, 4:47 pm

    We need to stop taxing property (property tax) and spending (sales tax). The only taxes we pay should be paid on income, and capital gains and dividends should be considered the same as ordinary income. And the income tax should be steeply progressive.

  8. Perhaps, but for me the bigger idea that is needed is that the government does not get to exempt itself from hard times at the taxpayer expense.

  9. Steve Edgar
    Sep 16, 2011, 9:57 pm

    Yes folks this taxing levy and the 40 plus districts topic comes up every year (at least for the last fifteen).

    The only way to reduce the rate is for the Commissioners of the district to freeze their taxing district budget or reduce the levy.

    A cemetery district in which I was taxed by was way above average for the entire state in their commissioner compensation. I persistently brought this to their attention and they hired an attorney and complained to me that this increased their costs but in the end their attorney showed them they were in violation of Idaho Code and they reduced their compensation and the levy.

    For a state in which the majority of the conservative electorate complains about government at all levels I find it sadly amusing that our very own local Commissioners running these taxing districts are the ones picking our pockets.

    Get involved people, call the Secretary/Treasurer of any taxing district you pay into and ask to see the financials, check book and their compensation records. See how many family members of Commissioners are getting contracts to do district work and call them on it. Bitching about it on Dave’s site will not do a damn thing towards fixing the problem. Being a pain in the butt to the taxing district Commissioners will!

    Last point. Check and see how many property tax exempt agencies are on the books. Maybe we should open a dialogue on who should and who should not be exempt. Lots of revenue lost on this one.

  10. Rod, you are just completely commited to spending other people’s money! How about a flat tax so we ALL have some skin in the game? When that happens, maybe those who have been living off the “system” will come to their senses.

  11. boisetaxpayer
    Sep 17, 2011, 11:24 am

    I think government and it’s services are way overgrown. To some degree the taxpayers expectations are equally overgrown as well. I really dont want to pay $100million dollars of tax money per year supporting police and fire. I do respect these agencies, however, I think down sizing would be appropriate and more responsibility should shifted to personal accountability. Also, private industry that does not require property tax support may blossom to fill in the potential void created by responsible downsizing of some government agencies.

    Not to soley pick on police and fire but they are tremendous consumer of tax payer dollars. I support these agency billing for some services – as Boise Fire has recently- to keep the tax burdon lower and create citizen responsibility.

    With that being said large corporations that experience a profit (ie every hospital, Micron, HP, downtown businesses) should ALL pay a property tax as well. I’m certainly not an expert here, but I can take out my own garbage to the landfill (including some of my neighbors), I can understand that it may take 5-10min for a fire truck, paramedic or police man to get to my front door in an emergency, I can pay for services when I am at fault (ie on the river at high flows, mtn biking in the foothills), and we all could help take care of neighborhood parks,etc etc.

    Also, I dont believe property values have any relation to the state of the economy. Homes in Boise, especially the north and east ends, were so over priced that a correction needed to happen. Most property remains over valued and the local government was reaping the benefits of citizens over paying for property and thus overpaying in property taxes. Property values need to further correct and sorry to all of you who made poor investments.

    It’s time for citizens to put action where their mouth is and step up to the plate. The government has never solved any problems, why do you expect them to?

  12. Don’t forget the ‘fair market’ value scam for tax purposes, the value that does not count distressed sales and foreclosures making your tax value a LOT higher than the actual amount you could get if you sold.

  13. If they don’t tax the hell out of us, how are they going to pay for their new convention center (centre?)?

  14. Lawrence Johnson
    Sep 28, 2011, 8:59 pm

    Am I crazy for thnking the taxing districts can write a budget that is less than or equal to the last years budget? My home value is down 40% and Im tired of paying more property taxes.

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