Idaho Governor, Butch Otter, along with other local business leaders, is once again calling for the state's personal property tax to be abolished. According to NPG of Idaho, the tax - often referred to as the business equipment tax - is levied on all property owned by businesses from heavy machinery to run-of-the-mill office equipment, which many feel makes the state unattractive to potential new businesses.
The House Revenue and Taxation Committee has voted to introduce a bill that is intended to be the next step in phasing out all personal property taxes on business. Last year, the Legislature started that process with House Bill 315, which exempted businesses from paying the first $100,000 owed in personal property tax in each Idaho county where the tax was assessed. The law also exempted any personal property valued at less than $3,000. The tax relief has been sought after for some time, and last year's efforts came from business lobbies such as the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry and the Idaho Chamber Alliance; and those groups are also behind this year’s effort cosponsored by House Speaker Scott Bedke (R) and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (R).
The Idaho House has passed a bill that would exempt 90% of Idaho businesses from personal property taxes. According to MagicValley.com, the passage came after a short debate, with most lawmakers speaking in favor of the repeal, and will now move on to the Senate for consideration. This was the third personal property tax repeal proposal the House had considered, with the first two receiving no votes during their public hearings.
The Idaho House is set to introduce two competing bills, one backed by counties, one by industry, which will cut the state's business personal property tax. According to magicvalley.com, Rep. Gary Collins, House Revenue and Taxation Committee Chairman, will schedule the hearings by the end of the week.
The elimination of Idaho's personal property tax on businesses could turn out to be more costly than originally thought. According to the Idaho Statesman, business groups and many politicians are seeking elimination of the tax, which brought in an estimated $141 million in 2012, saying it is the state's most hated levy and difficult for businesses to administer. The question that remains, however, is how to make up for the lost revenue if eliminated.
Predictions from the Senate claim that the 2013 Legislature will repeal Idaho's business personal property tax. According to the Idaho Statesman, the repeal will require the state to replace revenue collected by local governments estimated at between $133 million and $143 million, and to phase in the repeal over six years. The basis behind the repeal is to attract more businesses to the state while rewarding those already there.
The repeal of business personal property taxes in Idaho has its best chance of getting through the Legislature in 2013. According to IdahoReporter.com, the business personal property tax has been a hot button item for the last couple of legislative sessions with some lawmakers and business groups trying to repeal it, and an effort is planned in the 2013 legislative session to get rid of the tax altogether with the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (ICAI) leading the charge.