The recently announced deal between Boise City and the family of Gov. Brad Little to purchase family-owned land in the foothills to be set aside for public use points out the need for property tax reform in Idaho.
The six parcels are taxed at the rate of 79 cents per acre. The Little’s paid $255 in total taxes for 2020 on 325 acres.
The city is paying $1.2 million for 325 acres. The price and value are uncontested and represent a “good deal” for city taxpayers. The city is making the purchase with funds approved by voters to stop development in the area.
The land–highly coveted by developers–was taxed at a mere 79 cents an acre. That’s right folks, with the agriculture exemption, The Littles paid only 79 cents per acre because it was appraised as “dry grazing” land. Yet, when it comes time to sell, the owners–any owners–turn around and claim it is worth many thousands of dollars per acre.
The land in question is between Seamons Gulch Rd. and Pierce Park Ln. It lies north of Hill Rd.
Had they sold to a developer rather than the city, the GUARDIAN suggests a “development or zoning adjustment fee” should be established. Just for fire protection alone the cost has certainly exceeded 79 cents per acre on an annual basis.
The biggest cash crop in Southwest Idaho is rooftops, but current Idaho law requires taxes are based on “current use” of the land, allowing farmers to avoid taxes on the “true value” of land and cashing in when they sell. Meanwhile, they reap the subsidy of those of us who pay the higher tax rate.
Boise Bench Representative John Gannon called the tax example a “gross under taxation.” He is serving on the Interim Legislative Property Tax Committee for comment.
Gannon went on to say, “This purchase price is a good deal for Boiseans and I appreciate the Little family selling it. I hope Boise can buy some open space on the Boise Bench too. But this gross under taxation once again shows the unfair, unjust and unconscionable Idaho Property tax system. You can’t even start to put out a fire for 79 cents an acre. This past tax treatment is another reason why property taxes continue to shift to homes.”
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