What the personal property tax is—and what its repeal means for Idaho, part 1.
You’ve probably heard that the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry has signaled their intent to ask lawmakers to repeal the personal property tax. Not only could this be one of the biggest issues of this legislative session, it could also be one of the biggest threats to public school budgets this year. Watch a video on what the personal property tax means to Idaho, and read the primer below on this important revenue source—and why we can’t afford to eliminate it.
The personal property tax is really a tax on businesses, not people.
Only companies with facilities in Idaho pay this tax, which is based on the value of equipment a business uses.
The personal property tax provides $140 million in revenue to county and local government entities, including schools.
These dollars go to schools, fire protection, law enforcement, emergency response systems, and community colleges, among other public systems.
Rural areas are especially dependent on this income source.
The revenues generated by this tax stay in the county in which they’re generated, which means that for rural counties with a single big factory or manufacturing plant, the tax can be the major revenue source for their entire county or municipal budget, and for most of the services they provide.
The problems associated with the tax can be addressed without taking the radical step of eliminating it.
Some have suggested exempting small businesses from the tax. Others are talking about exempting 85-90% of Idaho businesses and nonprofits from paying the tax, reducing revenue by $22 million. An outright repeal for all businesses would reduce revenue by a whopping $140 million and devastate budgets in counties and municipalities everywhere in Idaho.
The Business Equipment Tax provides a lot of bang for the buck: it represents a tiny cost for business but a critical source of revenue for communities. Read more analysis of the tax here.
IEA releases policy recommendations
Convened last summer, the IEA’s Education Excellence Task Force was charged by the IEA board to research and recommend policy proposals to improve Idaho education. They’ve completed their work and their findings have been approved by the IEA Board of Directors. Check out their recommendations here. The IEA will refer them to as we discuss the transformation of the teaching profession and our schools.