City Government

Treasure Valley Taxes Compared


In the chart below are the tax amounts from the budgets of Boise, Meridian, Caldwell and Nampa. The data is from the Idaho Tax Commission and Idaho Census. Calculations of the taxes are per person on budget expenditures and then per household.

The average household is statistically adjusted by 2011 Census for each city. Using this as a factor, the computation shows that Boise spent nearly twice as much property tax as Meridian and Caldwell per household. Note: these are actual property tax numbers taken from the cities’ budgets and are not the cost of total expenditures.

Property taxes in Treasure Valley cities
City Property taxes Populations Per capita Per household
Boise $112,383,000.00 212,303 $529.35 $1,397.49
Meridian $20,544,000.00 80,386 $255.57 $725.81
Nampa $31,630,265.00 83930 $376.86 $1,104.21
Caldwell $12,824,323.00 47,665 $269.05 $774.87

Harriman is a property appraiser living in Nampa.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. It’d be nice to see Kuna included in this list.

  2. Oh man… we got work to do. Not nearly as high as California when we departed because we had no jobs and couldn’t afford to live there anymore. The California model is the best one I can think of for the destection of an American community. You go Mayor Dave!

  3. Levy rates for cities in 2012 as published by Ada and Canyon county assessors are:
    Caldwell .0128050400
    Nampa .0115812030
    Boise .008315979
    Meridian .004550974
    Kuna .004007956

    The dynamic duo of Nancolous and Dale are obviously good at extracting taxes from their citizens

  4. Is there a list of assessed values in these cities? Just curious.

    I gotta believe Meridian is going to pass Nampa soon in population. I’m sort of surprised that Meridian is so far behind Nampa in taxes. Wonder why? The schools in Meridian are much nicer, facility wise. Nampa’s schools, at least the high schools, are pretty marginal. I’m mainly talking about athletic facilities/fan comfort and outside appearances, because that is why I go to so many area high schools.

    EDITOR NOTE–Schools are not funded by city taxes. Harriman lives in Nampa and the thrust of the article was originally about the spending in Nampa being nearly as high as Boise.

  5. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 29, 2013, 7:34 pm

    Wonder why that chart does not include Ada and Canyon Counties, which also collect property taxes.

    In Tax Year 2012 Boise City collected $446 per capita in my household, not including schools, mosquitos, CWI, EMS, indigent services, & county, which all together totaled more than 3x Boise City.

  6. Note to Rod:
    Property levy rates in Canyon County are 40% higher overall than the levy rates in Ada. The main driver of this is Urban Renewal agencies in Caldwell and Nampa.

    Nancolas and Dale are bleeding citizens dry and really don’t care to hear it. Why they haven’t figured out employers locate in Ada v. Canyon County. It’s the price of property taxation. The difference is a big consideration for employers.

  7. chicago sam
    Jun 30, 2013, 6:54 pm

    Ada county levy rate for 2012 was
    Canyon county levy rate for 2012 was .0057080420
    As flyhead has pointed out and to use a simple example a $150,000 house in Ada county will pay substantially less property taxes than in Canyon county.
    On everyones property tax bill there are as many as 10 different taxing districts each taking a bite large or small. School taxes in Ada County for Meridian and Boise are generally higher than in Canyon county but to repeat– the same value property in Canyon county will pay substantially more property taxes than in Ada county

  8. Rod, Just pointing out that all that is not Boise City is not necessarily Ada County. The levy rate for Ada County is less than that for the City. The 3X Boise City you cite must include non-County and non-City entities.. schools, ACHD, etc. That being said, property tax for many services is an archaic way to tax people. It has little to do with ability to pay, and little to do with cost of services provided. Further, duplication among City and County entities costs us extra too.

  9. Okay, I just failed to see that the property taxes were not cumulative for all taxing districts, like schools. Well, it really does surprise me about the difference between Meridian and Nampa. Nampa always, of course, surprises me. I’ve never liked Nampa (or Caldwell, for that matter). Driving by them on the freeway shows an ugliness that can only be described as FUGLY. Roads are cockeyed, hookups to the freeway make very little sense, especially near the old Karcher Mall area, and it appears that zoning laws are designed to show passers by the worst the area has to offer. The sheer number of 4-way stops instead of traffic lights is maddening if you have to go out to the schools, which all seem to be considerably south of anything convenient near the freeway, and they have numbered roads going in all directions for some bizzare reason. The whole concept of “Nampa” seems like something that should be trashed and completely re-started. How that city ends up with the property taxes it charges it citizens is completely beyond me, although I will admit to have almost no respect for the city leaders they have elected over the years, with perhaps a couple exceptions here and there.

  10. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 1, 2013, 10:43 am

    Wait, it used to be that people moved to Canyon County (and suffered the commute to Boise) because homes were cheaper and property taxes were less.

    My point was that the City of Boise is about 25% of my property tax bill. The rest goes to other stuff.

  11. Hmmmm? Can anyone tell me why the taxes in CC are higher than AC?

    EDITOR NOTE–TAXES may or may not be higher. The LEVY rate is higher. Under Idaho law cities have to establish a BUDGET which cannot be more than 3% higher than the previous year. Then, to get REVENUE for the budget expense, the cities LEVY a % of the value of property to establish the TAX. If the ASSESSED VALUE of the property declines, the cities raise the LEVY. If the value increases, they lower the levy, but can actually increase taxes. During real estate boom times, the % of value that is taxed is often low, but when values are cut in half, the levy doubles to maintain the same budget revenue.

  12. Dean Gunderson
    Jul 2, 2013, 1:39 pm

    It would be interesting to see if the tax amounts listed are just those restricted to residential properties — as the “per household” and”per capita” implies — or if they are (as I suspect) for all land use types.

    The American Farmland Trust publishes analyses, called Costs of Community Service Studies, that break all property-based tax revenue streams down by land use types (residential, commercial, industrial, farm, and wild lands) and compare them to the costs of providing services to the various land uses. Canyon County has had these studies conducted twice in the past few years and the results are typical for most U.S. cities. Residential land almost always costs a city much more in services rendered than in tax receipts — leaving a city to balance the books by increasing its industrial and commercial properties (which generate much more in revenue than in service costs — even with the same levy rates).

    I suspect Nampa and Caldwell must have higher comparative levy rates because they don’t have as much much commercial or industrial land as Boise or Meridian. Whereas Kuna’s relatively low rate is due to its fairly new infrastructure (not needing much maintenance, as of yet) and the amount of farmland within its city limits; which also typically generates more taxes than demands on services (why the AFT conducts these studies in the first place).

    I suspect Kuna will have to significantly increase either its commercial/industrial acreage as it builds more housing (which comes at the cost of significant farmland loss, accelerating its budget imbalance), or it will face even more financial hardship.

    It isn’t as simple as looking at a community’s levy rate to determine whether a mayor and council are doing a good job with the municipality’s budget. Both Nampa and Caldwell have spent a significant amount of their recent history (much longer than just two mayors’ tenure) perfectly content to be the bedroom communities to the Boise area. Their overabundance of residential land (compared to commercial and industrial land) is directly related to their higher levy rates — add the amount of public funds expended on widening the interstate between Boise and Canyon County to continue to bolster the false economy of “drive to qualify” mortgage lending, and the equation is even more imbalanced than these higher levy rates would indicate.

    The only way Nampa and Caldwell will stand a chance at any long-term balance is to both increase their amount of commercial and industrial lands and lower their levy rates. The lower rates will also spur private sector business generation and open up local employment opportunities (lessening the amount of interstate driving and lowering each household’s transportation costs).

  13. What amazes me is what the “Tax Cap” did when cities hit the max they could tax by law. Nothing was noted in a reduction of city services where I live. Now that levy rates are once again on the rise, I can’t wait to see how much waste and abuse of tax dollars via property taxes.

    If you can hold your breath for five years, why can’t you hold it forever?

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