In continued testimony this morning on HB 409, the one-year property tax freeze bill:

Hubert Osborne, who said he and his wife live in Nampa, said, “It is time for a time-out and go to the table and try to come up for a more equitable plan.”

Nampa Mayor Debbie Kling said, “No one reached out to me during your interim committee and asked me what the impact would be of these changes ... and I want to say shame on you. What is the role of state government? It is not to do harm at the local level.” Among her concerns with a freeze is that it would prevent the city from meeting the local match required for a federal grant that’s funding police officers. “If we are going to move forward, my ask for this body is how about if you come and we sat down in a collaborative environment and figure it out?” she said. “We need to work together to come up with a solution that doesn’t harm our local citizens but helps them. We need a plan. This is like whack-a-mole. … We need a plan where we collaborate, we come together, and we have comprehensive tax reform, not just looking at one item.”

Terrel Tovey, a Bannock County commissioner, said, “We need to work on this problem, but the problem is this is a sledgehammer coming through.” He said his county would face $900,000 in cuts. “This is not a well-thought-out solution.”

Because the 11 a.m. floor time for the House is approaching, Rev & Tax Chairman Gary Collins said he'll now call only those from out of the area to testify, who can't come back tomorrow morning, suggesting he'll continue the hearing then.  However, the next person to come up was David DeHaas of Boise, who railed against the city of Boise, saying it's “taking and stealing our tax dollars … they suck money out just like a Hoover vacuum cleaner,” and calling local officials “petulant” and several other names.

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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