Jim Rice

Idaho Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, says he’s decided to include a public vote in his proposed legislation to raise the Idaho sales tax to 7% and provide property tax relief.

Senate Tax Chairman Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, is working on major legislation to raise Idaho’s 6% sales tax to 7%, and to use the money to increase funding for schools — while phasing out school districts’ ability to pass local property tax overrides known as supplemental levies.

“We need to move off of supplemental levies for the school funding,” Rice told the Idaho Press. “That will help with the property tax situation.”

This year, 92 of Idaho’s 115 school districts are collecting voter-approved supplemental property tax levies, totaling $214 million, according to Idaho Education News.

That’s how much property tax relief Rice’s proposal would initially provide statewide, while also increasing funding for schools and setting aside roughly another $30 million toward grocery tax relief.

“It kills two birds with one stone,” said Rice, who hopes to have a draft of the bill to unveil by the end of the month.

You can read my full story here at idahopress.com (subscription required), or pick up today's Sunday/Monday edition of the Idaho Press; it's on the front page.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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