Government Sponsored Growth Fans Tax Hikes

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Ada County’s property tax notices have come out.

Any way you care to spin it, growthophobes who have lived here for any length of time are funding the growth to benefit the mortgage lenders, developers, contractors, planners, consultants, etc. Growth is costly and does NOT pay for itself.

There are no impact fees for schools, and the list of “incentives” we are forced by the politicos to pay businesses to locate in Idaho (and the Boise area) turns our stomach. The GUARDIAN growthophobe policy has long been to welcome any business or individual willing to pay their fair share of taxes and not seek welfare. “If you can’t make it without taking cash from the citizens, please take your business elsewhere.”

Our combined Ada County property tax bill here at the GUARDIAN world headquarters increased 35% over last year and all we have to show for it is more traffic, homeless people at every entrance to the super market, crowded schools, and mean spirited politcos who spend OUR money advertising and promoting the area as a destination for those who seek to exploit us.

The GUARDIAN has long complained about members of state and local government who abuse urban renewal, cater to developers, and generally spend “other people’s money” with reckless abandon.

The oft heard cry of, “you can’t stop growth” rings hollow when cities compete to attract businesses and form illicit partnerships with the private special interest lobbying entity known as the Chamber of Commerce. Realistic impact fees for police, fire, highways, and parks would serve to curb the developers seeking the best deals from local governments.

The public outrage at Boise’s mayor and city council to get around the state constitution with massive spending schemes for a luxury library edifice and a sports stadium could easily be the first whisper of what could become an angry shout from citizens seeking some equity in the way they are treated.

Feel free to share your tax numbers with us (they are all a public record). Hint: to figure the increase subtract last year’s tax found in the “common questions” box from this year’s total. Divide the increase by the previous year amount to get the perc entage increase.

Example: 2019 tax of $3,000 minus the 2018 tax of $2,500 is a $500 increase divided by the original 2,500 which equals .20 or 20%.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Bonnie Krupp
    Nov 24, 2019, 8:42 pm

    Everyone is asleep and would prefer to whine rather then attend a city council meeting. They want to know why there is no affordable housing. How do we get such dumb government. Look at TJ Thomson who is angry that McLean is breaking with the chain of command. But she likes urban renewal, votes for the 3%, wants us to build more affordable housing and in general is an obfuscating politician but a younger version of grouchy Dave.

  2. Lynn Bradescu
    Nov 24, 2019, 8:44 pm

    Well what’s Lauren McLean going to do if she’s elected?
    More taxes. More homeless! Does not support the camping ban or the lawsuit to the ScOTUS. !!!!
    For me it’s “the devil you know and the devil you don’t” Vote Bieter!

  3. No Consistency
    Nov 24, 2019, 9:45 pm

    There is no consistency in how values are assessed and the resulting impact on tax increases. For three homes in the far northwest area of Boise, with very similar size and acreage, but of different years:

    1978 – increased $421 (31%)
    1995 – increased $354 (21%)
    2011 – increased $62 (<3%)

    2004 very large home with nearly 5 acres – increased $26

    Is the major increase on the oldest property intended to push this person out so the land can be redeveloped?

  4. Vote Bieter Out
    Nov 24, 2019, 11:31 pm

    This is exactly what happens when too many people think someone else will do something about it. But it’s not to late. Maybe Lauren will do some, or many, of the things she heard from those she listened to. And if everyone who took the time to attend her listening events puts forth the effort to hold her accountable, and not assume someone else will, we could see different outcomes. With Bieter, we will just receive more of the same.

  5. 2018- $2298.64
    2019- $2757.18
    $458.54 increase. Alomost 20%.
    Five years ago my taxes were $1389.00.
    They’ve gone up 909.00 in 5 years!

    A native,(Boise pioneer family of 1865). I too will be forced out of Boise when I retire if this continues.
    I am sure CCDC is frothing at the mouth to get ahold of my bench neighborhood next. Plus the looming upzone where I can then feel guilty about having a yard and privacy in my garden. I say NO to blanket upzoning! As well as other things I am mad about with our “city leaders” too numerous and depressing to mention.

    Thanks Dave for all you do!

  6. who this hurts
    Nov 25, 2019, 7:41 am

    This type of tax increase can be stopped by not taking the 3%. Bannock county did an adjustment because there is concern that taxes are too high. The people will take part in a revolt.

    Bieter has spent and spent without regard to the long term trend. PR campaigns, chorizos for the music festival, lots n lots of bucks for Quinns pond and the fake wave – where lives have been claimed because water is dangerous, (and where there is deadly bacteria) a kindness campaign, city hall remodels, urban renewal putting more pressure on the individual taxpayer, and also, also, money out of the pocket of a businessperson who the community members cannot continue to afford. Place the blame on the promoter – the concert is too big and the sounds are poor. Tighten you belts Boise and Ada county. It will need to be an organized effort. I work harder for less, and spend more on others development deals. Enough.

  7. In Ada County, Meridian. Guess I should feel lucky, only increased 16.96%.

  8. Editor, how much of the County levy increase was due the claw-back of the forgone 3% past several years? When there were somewhat responsible Commissioners.

  9. Line to the Assessor site where you can find records…

    1650 sf home on .17 acre in ’80s neighborhood in SE Boise …
    Year Tax Increase
    2019 3221 14%
    2018 2824 20%
    2017 2362 8%
    2016 2192 6%
    2015 2059 19%
    2014 1724 7%
    2013 1611 5%
    2012 1535 -2%
    2011 1570 -2%
    2010 1605 8%
    2009 1492

  10. Our Despot Mayor
    Nov 25, 2019, 9:11 am

    I despairingly agree that McLean is not the answer to all the problems with our current Despot. However, electing her sends a clear message that we’ve had enough of someone who thinks he owns the City. Sure I don’t attend council meetings anymore. Ever tried to find a parking place? Try following Bieter to his! OK Back on point. If McLean is no better, send her packing in 4. If we have to keep stirring the pot, we might finally elect someone who gets it. At this juncture, there is but one choice, break up TEAM BIETER by taking out the Leader.

  11. I live in a community which is considered Boise, and our average response time is 20 minutes for fire and medical emergencies. Impact fees don’t cover the cost of having a fire and EMS service in our community. We have a fire station, but can’t afford to staff it. Why are our leaders not concerned about the lives of our citizens based on the fact that many communities in Boise and outside of Boise lack basic safety services like EMS. Enough already!

  12. Tom Lorentz
    Nov 25, 2019, 9:28 am

    Our 2019 property tax increased 38% YOY (Year over Year). That large of an increase in one year is suspect. The Boise City and Ada County levies are up 33.3% and 42.5% YOY respectively. Those types of increase in “ONE” year are suspect.
    The bright side is we received the tax bill just before the run-off mayoral election. Everyone should who is encountering these types of increases should make a phone call to voice their displeasure.

    2019 Tax: $2084.20
    2018 Tax: $1509.88
    Increase: $574.32
    Percentage: 38%

  13. Chickenhawk
    Nov 25, 2019, 9:44 am

    I agree with Lynn. Gotta love how folks are going all in on McLean for change. Lest they forget that she not only marched in lockstep with the current administration for years but has lobbied FOR the library and stadium! But it’s OK! Just keep drinking the Kool-Aid and big government will pay for everything.

  14. John Hormaechea
    Nov 25, 2019, 10:12 am


  15. John Hormaechea
    Nov 25, 2019, 10:22 am

    ~27% inc

    I don’t like paying that amount but I’m still in my prime working years. For those on fixed budgets this becomes very difficult and I worry about. We have a track record of how Bieter spends. McLean has the potential to change that spend (library, transit, CCDC) and should be given the chance. If not, we have 2023.

    DaveF – Curious if McLean wins, could she oust Bieter from his CCDC seat or is he allowed to complete his 5 year term?

    EDITOR NOTE–Seems the only way to oust members is for cause. Once appointed, the city has no voice. It is an independent entity after the city creates and appoints members.

  16. My repeat from last year:
    Needed changes for our property taxes:
    1) Eliminate the exemption for nonprofit organizations- churches, hospitals and universities with more than $100K in revenue. Generally, if a nonprofit needs to own property they can afford to pay for the services citizens receive while patronizing the organization.
    2) Eliminate the ag exemption for speculation holdings by developers and large builders such as M3, Hubble, Barton, etc., and ‘cheaters’ like Sally claiming her 5 acres paradise is “a farm” because she has 8 chickens.
    3) Require sales disclosures to county assessors to get a more accurate and timely market valuations.
    4) Increase ACHD Commissioners’ tax bills.

    5) new for 2019- Require excess tax collected to reduce any incremental increase for the following year. Agencies should not be allowed to accumulate excess tax in excess of x% of their budget.

    Effective policy is based on the idea of “Equally increase the base of payers- lower the rate.”
    That is always more ‘equitable’.

    #3. When the assessor UNDERVALUES high-end properties those property owners are paying disportionately less than the regular property owners.

    A $250,000 property get assessed at $225,000 and
    a $770,000 property gets assessed at $700,000
    the $770,000 property is paying way less than what they should be- in actual dollars. I used 10% market value discount- but the reality is higher value properties have bigger discounts. Therefore, the math equation says everyone’s values/taxation goes a bit more, to compensate for the undervaluing, but the degree and impact is greater for the lower value properties. === the wealthy benefit at the expenses of the middle-income.

    We all pay for the local service unequally, many low income people utilize the services excessively, and yet we need services to some degree equally.
    Golden Rule: He who holds the gold—

    the process is- a budget is determined and THEN the assessment

    The rules and process of property valuation SHOULD BE a much bigger concern than the cost of a new library.
    But it’s easy to say, “a $X library is too much”. Pretty tough to remodel the whole local tax system all at once, especially when it currently benefits those in control.

  17. CASPER – The lack of expanding fire station coverage to keep up with the growth is a serious safety issue for those who are not in Boise’s 1.5 mile / 4 minute response standard. This is also an unequal taxpayer funded protection issue. I am wondering which unstaffed fire station “in Boise” you are referring to, as you might be in a fire district? The only current unstaffed stations near the city of Boise are Station 18 on Chinden and Station 20 in Hidden Springs, which are both located in, and owned by, the North Ada County Fire and Rescue District. The other unstaffed station is the former Whitney Fire District Station 22, in the southeast area, which closed after Boise opened Station 15 in Harris Ranch. Many of the annexed properties near Station 22 now receive a net loss in safety services (longer response distance/time) while paying higher taxes.

    And impact fees are not specifically collected for Emergency Medical – which is an individual taxing district/levy on one’s Ada County tax bill. Impact fees in Boise are collected for fire, police, parks, ACHD. Although fire fighters are usually trained in basic EMS and do provide this service.

  18. Boise City Motto….
    Spend…spend….spend…spend…continue to spend….tax….tax…tax…spend…spend…continue…

  19. The property tax increases on the Boise Bench are inexcusable. There are a number of reasons including: well over 4000 properties are exempt and when one property doesn’t pay, others pay more because of the unique way property taxes are assessed. (For example When the State purchased HP, HP no longer paid prop taxes on the land and buildings) Lack of use of alternative funding methods such as impact fees, which fill the gap between when new construction requires services and when new construction actually pays. Garden City doesn’t even use them. The property tax shift from commercial to residential is too pronounced. Commercial on Vista Avenue for example actually declined or were the same in tax assessments. Restoring inflation indexing to the Homeowners Exemption is a fair way of helping, only helping, to fix this property tax issue. The State failing to fund the prison system puts a burden upon County jails where State inmates are held. And local governments need to be more careful in spending. Growth places new stresses, and unfortunately government hasn’t addressed them.


  21. CASPER;

    Hidden Springs is “considered Boise” in zip code only. You’re probably closer to Eagle.

    The abysmal response times you experience are the result of the fire district commissioners (elected officials, by the way) selling you out 20 years ago.

    They annexed H.S. into the fire district at the request of the developer, and weren’t smart enough to do the math and calculate that taxes wouldn’t be able to fund staffing of that fire station, even after the subdivision was fully built out.

    This is the same fire district that would have gone bankrupt had Walmart not built the State St. store, and would have gone bankrupt again had they not contracted with Boise 10 years ago.

    And speaking of fire district debacles, did anyone notice Star running a bond this year to fund converting a commercial building into a fire station? Didn’t they build a new station they couldn’t afford a few years ago?

  22. Garden City. Up 26%. (and I didn’t need the editor’s tutorial to figure it out).

    EDITOR NOTE–Eric, you get an “A” for the class!

  23. western guy
    Nov 25, 2019, 6:10 pm

    Fire districts: North Ada (formerly Cole-Collister) and Whitney, have been overtaken (and overrun) by Boise Fire Dept, which contracts with both of those districts for staffing.

    Boise Fire Union is looking at Eagle as their next takeover target. Related or not, Star FD is looking at Eagle to take them over.

    Like Katy says, watch your City Council meeting agendas and decisions…

  24. We do this to ourselves.
    Nov 25, 2019, 6:38 pm

    22% Ada Co., outside any city.
    We do this to ourselves. Very very common for people to vote in politicos who will surely raise taxes then they get stupid puzzled look on face when their taxes go up again and again.
    No civics in school has allowed ridiculous unneeded growth of government. The entire country has moved left. JFK would be a centrist Republican today.
    Biggest tax increase I’ve ever suffered is douchebags Obamiss and Justice John Roberts screwing up my health insurance. Republicans refuse to correct this because they love tax increases too.

  25. Those who complain the most vote the least. Those who do vote always seem to vote for the incumbent and then act surprised when they never change.

    Oh, so you’re not into politics? Well let’s see

    Your boss is…he uses his clout to keep your wages low.

    Your landlord is…he uses his clout to keep raising your rent

    Your banker is…she uses her clout to give you poor returns on your investments, etc.

    Your medical provider is…they use their clout to avoid paying or not covering your health bill and forcing you into bankruptcy.

    If you take a more proactive action at the polls then we can do like Easterner said.

    We are soon approaching the time when we can no longer reason with politicians and must resort to lynching and shooting them. Anonymous.

  26. $1800 in 1996
    $5800 in 2019. That is 1/4 of my SS.

    The same house with no major improvements.

    I will have to sell and move away soon.

    Even if the legislature is serious about property tax relief there will be major push back from every taxing enity.

  27. Who else is responsible
    Nov 26, 2019, 1:21 am

    Those little assessors that go out and value homes are also responsible. I know of one new townhouse where the right side sold and is taxed with a homeowners exemption, and the left side, only the land is taxed. It changed hands about the same time the right side did. The assessor has the friggin picture of the townhouse on the website, but it is not being taxed.

    Old houses aren’t worth as much as new ones. It is ridiculous to say it is the land value should be taxed. The land and everything under it is taxed, too.

    Every single person needs to appeal. Old house are being taxed at a rate that considers a developer and a realtor have made a profit. What is the starting point for reform? Let’s find it. Can we elect a new assessor?

  28. Figured my increase this year and it comes out to 43%. This on a fixed income means we are being priced out of our home by the County Assessor. Talked to the assessor that handles our area and did get a small reduction in evaluation when the assessment notices came out. Don’t really think that it helped that much.

  29. I got my bill today. Here’s the history for the past few years:

    YEAR Amount Change from previous yr.
    2011 1468.46
    2012 1640.42 11.7%
    2013 2003.08 22.1%
    2014 2332.46 16.4%
    2015 2647.34 13.5%
    2016 3053.20 15.3%
    2017 3239.32 6.1%
    2018 4108.40 26.8%
    2019 4842.68 17.9%

    In 2011, my property taxes were $122 per month.
    Next year they will be $404 per month.

    If only my retirement benefits were indexed to my property tax, I’d have no complaints.

  30. What else do we have to show for paying higher taxes? Insane repeated road closures and road blocks by our patron saint ACHD, which is the first agency that signs off on new developments, and by the way always approves them. Now if they can also figure out how to manage traffic, or even manage their projects.

  31. What you get for Boise's 3%
    Nov 27, 2019, 2:12 pm

    The 3% budget increase the city of Boise takes each year is primarily for the increase in personnel costs, as documented by the Finance Department. That is what you get for this part of your higher taxes.

    Across a decade of time, from 2013 through 2023 budget projections, the cost of personnel will have increased 53% while the base property tax increased 56%.

  32. Mine went up from $1800 to $2000 yr.

    It’s the real estate market goldrush, fanned by Fed Reserve printing allowances at your friendly neighborhood bank. Fractional reserve hypothecation of deposits at a 10 to 1 ratio. That spells “KaChing!!!” for real estate developers who know that “credit worthiness” equates massive profits and Socialist governments see more revenue opportunities. RINOs and Dems BOTH take advantage and cash in politically and financially.

    I remember when I used to vocally state my outrage at Grover Norquist’s desire to “drag Big Govt into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub” cuz I was such a “progressive” back then. Now….I would take pure pleasure in assisting Mr. Norquist and help hold Big Govt UNDER until it goes limp.

    How times have changed.

  33. Aggreived Party
    Dec 1, 2019, 12:45 pm

    Total assessed value increase since 2013: 88.14 %! 2018 alone equaled 33.36 %! Total 2019 increase: 19.28% Total 2019 tax assessment dollar increase: 7%
    It is very simple. Budgets drive taxes!

    City and County budget managers are the primary culprits which drive up taxes.
    Increases in assessed property values can equate to an increase in taxes if budgets are increased in the same year. Even if valuations stay constant, budgets can still be increased if the statutory “upper” mill levy limit has not been reached.
    Unfortunately the actual tax effect in real dollars is not calculated until AFTER the time has passed to object to any year’s valuation.

    Budgets are set much later which means taxpayers can never know what effect valuation increases will have until the fall of any given year.
    All of this conspires to result in the fact that less than one percent (1%) of all taxpayer’s ever file a Board of Equalization (BOE) appeal in any given year.
    I credit this fact to the short term memories of taxpayers.

    If just one percent (1%) more of the total taxpayers would file a Board of Equalization (BOE) appeal every year the appeals system would be overwhelmed. This is because there is a limited amount of time between when tax evaluations are received and when all appeals must be heard. It really is the only Achilles’ Heel of the current system.

    Ask any County commissioner who served during 2008 what effect the 2008 taxpayer “revolt” had upon the business of the county.It takes many man hours to prepare for just one BOE appeal which has led to innovative ways to derail the BOE process.

    One of these wholly unnecessary dirty tricks is the current demand that all BOE appeals be filed IN PERSON. No electronically submitted appeals or by mail. This adds another layer of inconvenience for any prospective assessment objector. For those who own property in one county but happen to live in other counties (or states/countries) this can become a real impediment.

    What’s next? Passenger Pigeon only filing?
    The bottom line is that a BOE appeal can be filed regardless of whether there is any motivation in the following year to do so.

    “Pitch a fit” every year and the assessors may think twice about assessing property every year. By statute assessors have the option of assessing once every three years.
    Holding the line on budgets during the real property inflationary spiral we are currently in is a must. All real estate bubbles eventually pop and we are overdue for a major market correction soon.

    Cutting budgets is no fun for big spenders but history suggests that they never stop until the goose that lays the golden eggs is on life support. In the mean time there really is no mechanism which can effectively put the brakes on the collective greed or appetite for bigger budgets.

    It used to be said the Democrats were the party of “tax and spend” while the Republicans were the conservative conscience for holding the line on taxes.Whatever happened to the “no-new-taxes-deficit hawks” which uses to populate the Republican party?

    Grover Norquist’s pledge members must be a real disappointment to him these days!
    I believe that each of our current representatives and senators signed his pledge years ago.

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