BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Bond elections that fail won’t be allowed before voters again for a minimum of 11 months under proposed legislation introduced Tuesday.
The House State Affairs Committee voted to hold a hearing on the legislation brought forward by Republican Rep. Heather Scott.
Taxing districts can currently bring failed bonds back for a vote within months and up to four times a year.
“We have several aggressive taxing districts that rerun bonds every two months,” Scott said after the meeting.
Scott put forward similar legislation two years ago. It passed the full House after some modifications but never got a hearing in the Senate.
In Idaho, bonds must be approved by a two-thirds super-majority of voters.
Bonds are a financial device taxing districts can use to get money to pay for such projects as building new schools, jails and other large projects. But the bonds must be paid back with interest, and that money typically comes by increasing property taxes.
Meanwhile, many residents have been complaining about increased property taxes due to soaring property values.
Lawmakers in 2006 eliminated using property taxes to fund public schools while raising the sales tax from 5% to 6% to make up for the lost money. However, school districts in general say they’ve never seen that bump in sales tax make up for the lost money.
As a result, a majority of school districts have turned to voters to ask them to approve bonds or levies.
But getting two-thirds of voters in a district to approve raising their taxes has been a difficult task.
A levy is a property tax increase, and Idaho school districts have been relying on them to pay for maintenance and operations.