Tracking code caldwell guardian

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tax Exempt Property Competing With Taxed Property

The Idaho Land Board recently purchased a storage business in Boise for $2.7MM of taxpayer money.  They intend to operate the place in direct competition with business owners who are stuck paying all the taxes government can apply.  Meanwhile, government owned real estate gets to operate via a total exemption for taxation.  The Land Board has made no secret they intend to purchase more commercial property and go into direct competition with private operators.  The LB purchase has caused all manner of consternation with the general public and business owners across the State of Idaho.

Here in Canyon County we have a similar situation that has gone on unchecked for a long time via Urban Renewal Agencies of Nampa and Caldwell buying commercial property and renting it out for profit in direct competition with other commercial property owners. Heretofore Urban Renewal agencies got to enjoy PROPERTY TAX EXEMPT STATUS on their rented and leased properties. 

Several weeks ago THE GUARDIAN was doing research on Urban Renewal Laws of Idaho (Title 50 chap.20) and found Idaho Code 50-2014 and the last couple of lines read:
"Provided, that such tax exemption shall terminate when the agency sells, leases or otherwise disposes of such property in an urban renewal area for redevelopment to a purchaser or lessee which is not a public body entitled to tax exemption with respect to such property."

THE GUARDIAN brought this Idhao Code Section to the attention of the good people at the Canyon County Assessors office. We are pleased to learn a number of parcels in Caldwell and Nampa have been returned to county property tax sub-rolls and a demand for payment of back property taxes on parcels owned by Urban Renewal Agencies currently rented out for other than direct public uses.

We  offer this section of the Idaho Code as a solution to the concerns of business owners and operators  worried about future Land Board purchases of commercial property.  A legislative change in Idaho Code stating that once the property is not used for a direct public use it loses any and all tax exemptions and goes on the tax rolls makes for a more equal footing for all concerned
Government should not be in direct competition with private business.  They can give themselves an unfair advantage via tax exempt status.  Removal of all TAX EXEMPTIONS  is the GREAT EQUALIZER should the Land Board and Urban Renewal Agencies continue down the path of buying more commercial/retail property.

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