Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert and the Board of Latah County Commissioners each wrote a letter to the Idaho Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee on Thursday urging members of the committee to vote against the property tax cap bill, or Senate Bill 1108, which proponents argue will provide property owners relief from increasing property taxes.

“This bill creates bad law and seeks to restrict the essential services provided by cities and counties to our citizens,” Lambert’s letter said.

The Latah County Commissioners’ letter said the bill would be harmful to local services, won’t offer the tax relief residents want and will be detrimental to attracting new businesses.

Because of the failure of the Legislature to index the Idaho homeowners property tax exemption to the rate of inflation, residential properties end up paying higher taxes, Lambert’s letter said.

Both letters mentioned the huge tax shift seen from commercial properties to residential ones.

“To offer true tax relief, we need to stop this shift by indexing the homeowner’s exemption and increasing the circuit breaker so that our elderly neighbors are not being taxed out of their homes,” the commissioners’ letter said.

Lambert wrote that indexing the residential homeowner’s exemption, granting voter-authorized local option sales tax authority to local governments and distributing internet sales tax revenues to local governments according to the statutory formula are ways to enact meaningful property tax reforms that benefit Idaho residents and businesses.

“Our concern with Senate Bill 1108 is that it will be marketed to the citizens as property tax relief, but our neighbors and friends will see little relief,” the commissioners’ letter said.

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