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Bill could allow Idaho counties to incentivize affordable apartment development

Beige condo units under construction in Boise.
Adam Cotterell
Boise State Public Radio
Four-plexes under construction in the Boise area in 2016.

A bill that passed the Idaho House Monday would give counties another tool to incentivize the construction of apartments.

Right now, only Blaine and Kootenai counties allow property tax exemptions for multi-family housing projects under a certain piece of Idaho code that's designed to spur economic development.

Rep. Ned Burns (D-Bellevue) wants to give all Idaho counties that option.

“What I’m trying to accomplish here is to not give a tax break to a market-rate downtown condo," he said as the bill was considered on the House floor. "I’m trying to help maybe push a project that is just outside being economically feasible to something that now pencils.”

Burns introduced HB 663 and said it could encourage developers to build more affordable housing units. He said it would help local economies struggling to hold on to their workforce because of rising rental costs.

“The folks who are most in need of these units these days are our firefighters, our law enforcement community, our paramedics, our nurses, our teachers and absolute glue that holds our town together," he said.

Counties would need to hold a public hearing before granting the tax exemption, which would apply to projects totaling more than $500,000. The exemption for a project could last up to five years, but the length and amount would be determined by the commissioners.

The bill narrowly passed the House and now moves on to the Senate.

Find reporter Rachel Cohen on Twitter @racheld_cohen

Copyright 2022 Boise State Public Radio

As the south-central Idaho reporter, I cover the Magic and Wood River valleys. I also enjoy writing about issues related to health and the environment.

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