EXTRA: Idaho's unnoticeable millions

Have you ever said something so preposterous you hoped nobody would notice?

Something like Alex LaBeau’s statement this week that Idaho could eliminate $129 million a year in tax revenue and no one would notice?

LaBeau is president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which includes many of the state’s biggest businesses and wants to do away with Idaho’s  personal property tax on business.

“You could feather it (the $129 million) out over five years and nobody would notice,” he said.

No one will notice that $129 million is missing?


No one likes the personal property tax, which requires businesses to inventory and pay taxes annually on equipment and other non-real property. It’s an administrative nightmare. But to say that no one would miss the money it generates is like saying you wouldn’t notice a cut in your salary.

The local governments that count on the tax for up to a quarter of their budgets wouldn’t notice it had disappeared? The people who benefit from programs that could be cut wouldn’t notice? The homeowners whose taxes could increase to make up the difference  wouldn’t notice?

In economic boom times, growing tax revenues would lessen the impact. But as most of us have noticed, times have been a bit hard of late. The last thing homeowners struggling to hang on to their homes and livelihoods need is a tax shift that helps big business at the expense of the little guy.

You have to wonder how LaBeau thought he could get away with such an outlandish statement.

On the other hand, it’s summer. People are taking vacations, enjoying the outdoors. The Olympics are about to start; the presidential race is dominating the headlines. People aren’t paying as much attention to state-government news as they normally do.

Maybe he thought we wouldn’t notice.

One thought on “EXTRA: Idaho's unnoticeable millions

  1. I agree the statement was absurd, the state would surely miss the money.

    Being one that has payed the ridiculous tax for years, I believe there needs to be some other way to replace the missing tax revenue.

    The tax itself is placed on the businesses best guess as to the value of the things they paid tax upon when purchased, then paying it over and over again every year.

    I am certain that every business questioned would rather pay more tax upon an objective thing in lieu of personal property tax. In that vein I think it should go away too.


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