At a public auction Friday the Idaho Land Board sold state-owned commercial real estate holdings in the Boise area valued at $17.3 million.
Apart from the ethical issue of competing with private enterprise in tax-exempt government own structures, The GUARDIAN was concerned about the loss of local tax revenues. At the current combined rate for schools, city, county, highways, etc. citizens were missing out on revenues of nearly $300,000 a year–in perpetuity!
The sale was the culmination of a campaign by a loose knit group known as the Tax Payers Accountability Committee–TAC. After the GUARDIAN broke the story back in 2010 that Idaho officials were running a private storage business, TAC formed with the goal of getting the state out of private business.
Officials–some still land board members–defended the practice, even going so far as claiming the Idaho Constitution “mandated” they invest in commercial real estate to get the highest return on endowment funds for education. They were either wrong then or are now violating the constitution. Doubtful if any of them will concede in either case.
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