The exciting Topic Of Taxes!

It’s about as interesting as watching paint dry, but somebody has to discuss taxes.

Any way you cut it, local property tax bills are likely to go up this year in Ada County. First off, the ASSESSED VALUE of most property has increased. That figure is used as the basis by cities, the county, ACHD, schools, etc. to come up with a percentage LEVY to determine the the rate needed to cover their respective budgets–all within limits mandated by state law. When they get done, you get a TAX BILL.

While Boise City Councilors routinely run up their budget the maximum 3% plus new construction value, Ada County and the Highway District (ACHD) have made it a corner post of their budget presentations to “forgo” the allowed 3% hike.

Former and current Ada Commishes declined the allowable hike for 7 years. However, the old guard hired 42 new employees without higher taxes…they spent one time revenues and reserve funds to pay operating expenses, according to Chairman Jim Tibbs and County Auditor Chris Rich. Both predict a tax hike is imminent.

And now it’s time to pay the piper. Faced with faulty jail equipment and an outdated 911 dispatch center, the Commishes have included the 3% annual hike, about 3% for new construction values, and–this is the big one–they are doing a “clawback” into the “forgone revenues fund.”

Huh? Turns out even though the politicos crow about not taxing as much as they had the authority to tax in a given year, they (or the next elected politico) can dip into those previous year’s AUTHORIZED amounts as though it were a savings account.

Politicos don’t like the analogy, but it is like qualifying for a $200,000 home loan, but only paying $100,000 and claiming you have an extra $100,000 to spend.

We find it absurd that the law allows elected officials to claim to be fiscal conservatives one year, only to go back and spend the money they “saved” in previous years.

There will be a budget hearing 6 p.m. Tuesday, July 21 at the courthouse.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Dude, I told you this when you were tooting your horn for these new guys. Former cops are about pay and bennies! Government firsters! Oh man they say, look look haw much cheaper we are than California… we gotta catch up or we won’t be able to recruit the most expensive, er, I mean best, employees.

    Don’t you worry, people too stupid these days to even notice the increase. They busy watchn Bruce change into his skirt on reality TV.

  2. Grumpy ole Guy
    Jul 14, 2015, 8:27 pm

    I had thought that there was a limit to the number of years of “foregone” taxes which could be claimed. Do I misremember, or am I wrong?

    EDITOR NOTE–Grumpy, one county official said there was no limit, but it just doesn’t sound right. I have a call in to the state tax commission for clarification. “Clawback” is such a great term!

  3. When RE taxes aren’t enough to meet their spending desires they will institute the second option. They will raise fees which have no statutory limitations.

  4. chicago sam
    Jul 15, 2015, 8:33 am

    If you look at total budgets and not just the funds which are paid by property taxes most taxing districts locally have increased their take from the public substantially. Water, sewer,and sanitation lead the list and while much of the increase can be explained away by federal and EPA mandates if you look closely the cities have discovered that transfers out of these funds to the general fund is a clever way to disguise the increasing cost of govt. The Legislature needs to put some teeth into discouraging these illegal transfers.
    The city of Nampa for instance has a 15% fee (tax) on garbage bills which is syphoned off to the street fund this year but in the past has gone into the general fund. All cities I have checked on do the same thing with different %s.

  5. Looks like the Clawback is only good for one year according to 63-802

    (e) In the case of a nonschool district for which less than the maximum allowable increase in the dollar amount of property taxes is certified for annual budget purposes in any one (1) year, such a district may, in any following year, recover the foregone increase by certifying, in addition to any increase otherwise allowed, an amount not to exceed one hundred percent (100%) of the increase originally foregone. Said additional amount shall be included in future calculations for increases as allowed;

    EDITOR NOTE–Clancy, we checked with the Idaho Tax Commission and they say the “forgone funds” were established by law in 1995 and local governments can go back that far to reclaim the taxing authority that was “forgone.” In other words, it is an open ended account–not real money, just “taxing authority.”

  6. It’s a moral issue. It’s wrong to give certain people in society, the ability to rob people at will – and on a purely arbitrary basis. Why should citizens of Idaho pay more, just because out of state interests come in and bid up property values? Even Cecil Andrus deemed the property tax as the most “onerous” tax. Additionally, the property tax boils down to State ownership of all property – a citizen never has free and clear title to their home, or land. It is long past time for the property tax to be retired as a method of raising revenue for Government.

  7. You pay it, they will spend it.

    Oregon has a “kicker rebate check”- when tax revenues exceed needs, the excess gets returned to the taxpayers.

    This would be good for local budgets- made up mostly a variable revenue streams- when sales are good (sales tax) increases and the excess flows to the cities. Cities, will automatically spend that money on something (new cars even though they don’t need them) so they can increase their budgets in the following years…. increased budgets usually mean increase salary for the budget-makers too.

    So if a city receives more than requested in a budget, the excess should be returned.
    Not likely to happen in Boise.

Get the Guardian by email

Enter your email address: