Property tax relief is on everyone’s front burner. I have spent several days studying this issue. Residential property taxes have skyrocketed over the last few years. It is obvious that we as taxpayers need relief from these oppressive taxes. I am working on two or three options that I feel would give significant relief and could have the possibility of being passed in both houses and become law.
As the vice chairman of the Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee I have been chairing the committee during the last couple of weeks as we have reviewed more than 500 pages of administrative rules from the State Tax Commission. These were rewrites of all existing rules, which have been reviewed and made more concise. In the process nearly 40,000 words have been eliminated. After several hours of study and discussion, we have now completed that review.
Last week was “education week” at the Capitol. We heard from the presidents of all eight of Idaho’s universities and colleges. They all state that they are collaborating better than ever before. This collaboration has and will enhance such things as credit transfers between higher-education institutions and some economies of scale in distance learning as well as partnerships with business. This collaboration has the potential of doing some really good things for Idaho.
At the request of Governor Little, all four universities have frozen tuition for this next academic year.
Our own community college, the College of Western Idaho, has a relationship with local businesses that has allowed it to use business facilities as instructional centers, decreasing the need for additional brick and mortar structures. This innovative thinking also enhances the ability of students to move smoothly from student to employee when their formal education is completed.
Since Idaho does not have a medical school, the State of Idaho sponsors 40 medical students at the University of Washington and 10 at the University of Utah. Greater than 50% of those students, who also do their residency in Idaho, ultimately establish their medical practice in Idaho. Since Idaho ranks forty-ninth in the nation in the number of doctors per capita, this is important.
These are important issues and there are many others I am studying as I represent you in the Senate. I appreciate the privilege to do so.
Below are some recent activities and highlights taking place in the Idaho Capitol. I hope you enjoy the information. For more details, you can log onto legislature.idaho.gov where you will find bills, committee recordings, and live stream videos of our House and Senate floor sessions. Don’t forget to connect with me on my website. I look forward to your involvement.
C. Scott Grow