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Politics & Government

Idaho Legislators To Tackle Rising Property Taxes

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Emilie Ritter Saunders
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Boise State Public Radio

With the values of houses – and property taxes – in cities across Idaho skyrocketing, state lawmakers say they want to look at options to bring some relief to homeowners.

Home values in the Treasure Valley have gone up by double-digits over the last few years. The median sales price in Ada County hit a record $355,000 in August.

In a statement, state Rep. Gary Collins (R-Nampa), who will co-chair the group, said, "This state’s property taxes are some of the highest in the nation. It’s not fair, and it puts our working families at a disadvantage. We’ll work to find ways to fix that.”

State Sen. Grant Burgoyne (D-Boise) is another of lawmakers taking part in a new group formed to tackle the problem. He says his constituents are worried.

“Quite a number of people are afraid that property taxes could eventually amount to more than their monthly mortgage payments did when they still had a house payment to make,” Burgoyne said.

A bill that would’ve lifted the cap on the state’s $100,000 homeowner’s exemption didn’t get a hearing at the Capitol this year.

Earlier this summer, Republican lawmakers said they didn’t need to bump up the exemption. Instead, they could just force local governments to tighten their budgets, which are largely fed through property taxes.

Burgoyne says he’d oppose such a move, noting it could lead to cuts in essential services – like schools and first responders.

Regardless of the recommendation the group reaches, he says something needs to happen to help make housing affordable for those who currently own homes and those hoping to buy one someday.

“It interferes with the formation of young families, it interferes with the ability of young entrepreneurs to capitalize businesses.”

The legislative group will hash out its first move in the coming weeks.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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