Last week we posted a piece after having a coffee chat with A.J. Balukoff, the Boise businessman who is running as a Dem for the office of Governor.
We talked about various tax breaks, including the practice of the Idaho Land Board owning businesses and leasing tax exempt state-owned buildings to commercial businesses. Balukoff suggested a “fee in lieu of taxes would be appropriate. He even said it wasn’t right for businesses to operate in tax-free buildings.
When Boise’s Team Dave subsequently confirmed the city would borrow money to fund a “build to suit” aircraft maintenance facility on behalf of SKYWEST, we wrote about the tax loss to local government
— including Boise Schools– which amounts to about $325,000 annually FOREVER. We asked for comment from the Balukoff camp since he is chairman of the school board which will forego the revenue and he is a candidate for governor as well. The state will rebate 25% of income and payroll tax to SkyWest through a Department of Commerce scheme decided by the director with advice of a “council.”
Here’s what we got Friday from Balukoff:
“I have serious concerns about current law that gives an unelected state department head the authority to decide which companies get a tax break. There should be closer scrutiny and tighter rules regarding tax breaks.
However, I do believe that cities and towns should have leeway to make local decisions about local economic development, rather than the state government exerting a heavy hand that impedes the wishes or decisions of elected local leaders. Tax policy driven by ideology, without consideration of local circumstances, just doesn’t work.
As governor, I will ensure that tax policy promotes economic development as well as providing the state with the revenue needed to properly fund education and deliver other necessary services, and I will guard against tax breaks that do not promote economic growth.”
While $350,000 given up by local governments may not be much to a politico, it amounts to about 194 years worth of taxes on the GUARDIAN’s humble abode!
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