Has Anyone Seen My Tax Money?
By Angelo Lonzisero
Attending a Bonner County Republican Central Committee meeting last month, our county’s tax assessor made her presentation, and I was surprised to learn the county’s assessments had risen from 20% – 50% for the coming year. This was shocking enough, but the Sunday punch came after the meeting when talking to our assessor. She stated to me in our conversation that since the previous year’s taxing district budgets were already finalized, all new construction property taxes collected in the new year is “FREE MONEY” and the monies collected on the approximately 400 new buildings is sent to the taxing districts over and above their budget requests. MANNA FROM HEAVEN to be spent on who knows what. I would think, and I stated to her, that this tax revenue should be put in a reserve account and used next budget cycle to lower our tax burden.
Continuing our conversation, I found out that if you build a home or other building and it remains unoccupied you can avoid property tax for up to TWO YEARS. She stated that the state legislators in Boise cooked this up at the behest of developers and builders. So, they get a free ride even though they use fire protection, road maintenance, sewer hookups, water hookups and other taxing district provisions. We pick up their fair share, aren’t the taxpayers truly magnanimous.
Then there are rumblings that The Idaho Club associated properties had not been paying their fair share of property taxes for some unknown reason. Maybe a misuse of a recreational exemption?
So, we should all ask our county officials if this is happening in your county too. As far as the giveaway to developers and builders goes, they should shoulder their fair share of the tax burden, just as the hoy paloy must. Let’s contact our state representatives and try to have this giveaway stopped.
As citizens, it is our duty to hold our elected officials accountable for the collection and distribution of our tax money. From a taxing district whose spending is out of control and unsustainable, to the misuse and wanton waste of our monies by another, we need to watchdog these entities and demand good stewardship of our hard earned money.
From the bureaucrats, to our elected officials, they need to be made aware that the cow can only be milked so much. They all need to learn to tighten the government belt a couple of notches back before they kill the host.
BE VIGILANT! IT’S YOUR MONEY!