Balukoff Wants Tight State Rules, But Don’t Impede Local Leaders Wishes On Tax Breaks

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!

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. IdahoCrystal
    Sep 12, 2014, 3:36 pm

    I really hope Mr. Balukoff gets the opportunity to show us how he can help Idaho do better. Lord knows Otter’s had two terms to show us how far behind we can get in so many areas – I’ll be really disappointed if he’s able to continue the trend to run us in to the ground even more.

  2. I will ensure that
    1) tax policy promotes economic development as well as
    2) providing the state with the revenue needed to properly fund education and deliver other necessary services

    “tax policy promotes economic development” usually means LOW taxes.

    “revenue need” usually means HIGH taxes.

    Sounds like another 2-sided campaign promise.

  3. Well ya know, that’s a tuff one.

    He knows that tax free for a truly ruthless for profit business which does not hesitate to charge whatever the market will bear is wrong… However, it was his liberal pals at Boise City Hall that did the deed after all. Hmmm, Oh gosh, It’s time for a special teams trick double-talk bullcrap play. Being in charge of the largest schrewel district, he knows most folks will get lost at the first switchback of a complex reversing reply… so as long as it sounds smart and thoughtful, then it’s a win. Make sure to buy the reporter lunch so they ask an easy one next time.

    Could we get an update on national party money flowing his way please?

  4. I think he’s a one issue candidate who’s running because of the close call with Luna, Otter, & Vandersloot over education issues.

    I worry about a one issue candidate’s abilities to lead in other important areas of capitalist business. Community organizer Obama’s abysmal war strategy and foreign policy failures come to mind.

  5. Balukoff for governor because he’s a candidate that understands leadership, collaboration, and how to get things done right. All voices will be heard, you can count on that. This is what we need, no matter the issue. Any candidate that says they know all the answers is lying to you.

  6. Grumpy ole Guy
    Sep 13, 2014, 3:58 am

    I think that most candidates are single issue ones, in most elections, because we the voters tend to focus on only one, two or three issues per election and let the others slide. State government is a complex mix and I doubt if any of us really understands the interactions and ramifications of all of the issues; certainly not the candidates, or at least it doesn’t appear to be the case from their press statements or speeches. And, the Legislators are rarely well informed until after after they have been in office for a couple of terms, and then it is only in the areas of committees on which they serve,if we are lucky. We all have heard the horror stories about their lack of knowledge and/or understanding.
    We need people in the Executive offices who are good executives, and often those are not the people with good “political skills”.

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