Idaho’s Otter sets sights on repealing personal property tax

butch otter

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter says he’ll promote a plan to repeal the state’s personal property tax when the 2013 Legislature begins this week, calling a multi-year phase out of the assessment on business equipment a possibility – provided local governments that now depend on the money aren’t hung out to dry.

Otter made the comments Friday at The Associated Press’ annual legislative preview at the Idaho Capitol. It would be Otter’s second session of pushing for tax cuts – last year, lawmakers backed his plan to cut income taxes by some $36 million.

Democratic lawmakers who spoke after Otter at the event cautioned against shifting taxes onto the shoulders of others, including homeowners, while others predicted repeal would benefit Idaho’s largest companies while undermining school funding.

A 2008 partial repeal, now valued at about $21 million, sought to eliminate the tax for about 85 percent of Idaho businesses. It’s never taken effect, however, because of the sluggish economy.

According to the Idaho State Tax Commission, the tax will generate some $141 million for local governments in 2012. Cities get about $33 million, public schools some $38.6 million and Idaho’s 44 counties’ share of the revenue is $39 million.  (AP)

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