Strings Attached Property Tax Relief Package Heads to Senate

Legislation that attempts to provide significant property tax relief — something education stakeholders have long called for — would also eliminate the March school election date, limiting districts’ ability to ask voters to approve bonds and levies.

House Bill 292, Rep. Jason Monks (R-Meridian) is moving quick through the legislative process and earned 63-7 bipartisan vote from House members on Tuesday. That vote took place on the same day 47 districts across the state asked voters to approve more than $1 billion in bonds and levies, much of it for fundamental business expenses the State of Idaho will not pay.

The bill awaits a committee hearing in the Idaho Senate.

Sponsors say House Bill 292 will provide significant property tax relief — up to $355 million in the first year and would provide schools with some $100 million a year, which they have to put toward property tax relief in some manner such as paying off bonds or levies and future building projects.

During debate, Monks said he would like to eventually make school bond issues obsolete with the measure. But many lawmakers, both for and against the bill, expressed concern about eliminating the March school election day.

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