On Tuesday, November 7, 2006 voters in Idaho will face a wide variety of candidates and initiatives on the ballot. One that has received little publicity is the Advisory Vote. The Advisory Vote reads as follows: "Should the State of Idaho keep the property tax relief adopted in August 2006, reducing property taxes by approximately $260 million and protecting funding for public schools by keeping the sales tax at 6%?"
Unlike the two Propositions and the two Constitutional amendments on the ballot, there is no further explanation of the intent of this vote, or the result this vote will have. In spite of the way this vote is down played--please consider it very seriously!
Don't be fooled by the wording of this Advisory Vote. There is no guarantee that funding for public schools will be protected. On the contrary, removing the dedicated portion of property taxes (.003 mils) which was specifically designated to fund Idaho's public school system risks the very stability and local control under which Idaho's public schools have effectively and efficiently operated for many years.
Furthermore, the tax shift which results from this action taken by the Idaho Legislature will substantially impact the poor and middle class by increasing the sales tax they pay without necessarily decreasing their property tax to the same extent. Furthermore, since mortgage interest and property taxes are two of the biggest deductions taken by middle class Americans, there will be an increase in Federal income taxes paid. Who this tax shift will benefit are wealthy out-of-state land owners who generally pay no sales tax, as well as other local, large property owners. If you are a renter, you will see an increase in the sales tax you pay without any corresponding offset of property tax reduction. (Calculations show an individual earning around $30,000 and spending about half of that on purchases will pay an additional $150 dollars with no decrease in property taxes to offset it.)
Send a message to lawmakers that Idaho's public schools are important and should receive consistent funding with local control. Speak Up for Idaho's School Children: Vote "No" on the Advisory Vote!
--Bea Black, Nancy Gregory, Virginia Pellegrini, Jane Orndoff
Trustees of the Boise Independent School District