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Regional News

Idaho taxing districts that sponsor losing bond issues may have to wait to run them again

Idaho legislature stock shot
State of Idaho
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The House may consider north Idaho Rep. Heather Scott's bill this week.

New bill would require nearly a year's wait

The Idaho House may vote this week on a bill that requires tax districts that run an unsuccessful ballot measure to wait at least 11 months before putting a measure before voters again.

Rep. Heather Scott [R-Blanchard] says the goal is to stop districts from repeatedly asking taxpayers for money even after being told no.

“I don’t plan to single out any particular district. It seems like there are some bad actors and that’s why we have to create laws, is to stop aggressive taxing districts, bad actors, those that are trying to take advantage of the citizens," she said.

Scott says her measure applies only to bond issues that require a two-thirds supermajority vote, not to tax levies that require only a simple majority.

Not everyone agrees with Scott’s assertion that bad actors are driving repeated tax votes. Quinn Perry, from the Idaho School Boards Association and the Idaho Association of School Administrators, told lawmakers the reality of bond requests is different.

“Nearly every school district that has re-run a bond twice in the same year, it’s because it received more than 60% in favor of the bond the first time. So, in practice, most districts that try again soon are close to the two-third threshold on the first vote. Using this logic, they are listening to a majority of their patrons," she said.

The House State Affairs Committee approved the bill by a 10-3 vote on Friday and sent it to the full House.