Letters to the Editor

Rutherford letter: Sales tax

Each year, as real estate values rise, Idaho homeowners pay higher property taxes while businesses pay less for the following reasons:

1. Sales tax collections, Idaho’s primary source of public education funding, are down by an estimated $350 to $500 million/year due to legislators granting exemptions to those doing business in Idaho. Because of this shortfall, 80 percent of Idaho school districts ask their voters to approve supplemental levies in order to continue their operations. These levies, totaling approximately $280 million/year, are paid for by increasing homeowners’ property taxes.

2. In 2016, HB-431 was signed into law. This bill put a $100,000 cap on the homeowners’ property tax exemption. There was talk of entirely eliminating this benefit. If your home is appraised at over $200,000 and rising in valuation, you will pay a larger share of Idaho’s property taxes. Taxes on all other types of property will decrease.

Many legislators receive 70 to 100 percent of their campaign funding from corporate and PAC donors. Approximately 40 percent of legislators own business property. Declaring a budget surplus in 2018 while we place supplemental school levies on the ballot is irresponsible.

Bill Rutherford, Meridian

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