The 2024 Legislative Session commences on Monday, January 8. In preparation for the upcoming session, the City of Boise’s Government Affairs team has identified the following legislative issues of interest to support further advancement of the city’s strategic priorities.
City of Boise 2024 Legislative Priorities
The City of Boise’s top priority for the 2024 session remains focused on housing affordability, specifically to create more homes priced at Boise budgets and to preserve existing affordable homes for both homeowners and renters alike. We seek to partner with the State to jointly address the state’s housing needs.
- State Investments: Continue appropriating funds in the State’s workforce housing trust fund which would provide critical gap financing for developers who are wanting to construct affordable housing in any community throughout the state.
- Tax Incentives: Consider creating additional tax incentives – either tax credits or exemptions – that would offer developers another key tool to engage in the affordable housing market and increase available units across many Idaho communities.
- Local Control: Reject efforts to pre-empt local housing ordinances aimed at protecting tenants in Boise’s rental market. These ordinances – which prohibit retaliatory conduct, prohibit source of income discrimination, provide a notice of landlord/tenant responsibilities, and ensure a full security deposit return upon unit demolition or substantial remodel – were enacted with significant stakeholder guidance from both landlords and renters with the intent of improving housing stability and access for Boise residents.
Enhance Property Tax Relief
Property tax discussions will remain a top issue for the Legislature in 2024, and the city looks to partner with lawmakers to address the financial needs of Boise residents.
- City Property Tax Rebate Program: Our largest focus will be addressing program efficiencies for the city’s Property Tax Rebate Program that offers qualified Boiseans a property tax rebate if they meet program eligibility. As we’ve enacted the program in line with statutory requirements, we’ve identified two legislative amendments that would ensure greater program efficiencies for our residents while streamlining government administration. They include allowing a credit in lieu of a rebate to keep more money in the pockets of residents and removing the duplicative application process.
- Homeowner’s Exemption: Idaho tax code allows homeowners to exempt up to $125,000 of their property value from property taxes so long as the home is their primary residence. The City of Boise supports legislation that would remove this fixed cap and reinstate indexing the exemption that was repealed in 2016 to allow the available amount eligible for an exemption to rise with increasing home values.
- Enhancing the Circuit Breaker Program: The City of Boise supports changes to the State’s property tax reduction program. As the income-gap widens, more residents would benefit from the program if the financial threshold for qualifying for the program was increased, and the amount of tax relief eligible participants could receive also increased.
- Impact Fees for Schools: The City of Boise supports legislation that allows schools to levy impact fees as a measure of relieving pressure on property tax. State statute allows cities, counties and highway districts to charge impact fees to residential and commercial developments to fund one-time capital investments for public facilities such as roads, parks, police and fire stations. Public schools, however, cannot utilize impact fees to build or expand school facilities even if new residential development could potentially strain local schools. Consequently, school districts rely on property tax bonds to raise funds when they experience growth beyond what their state funding was based on.
Responding to Infrastructure Needs
In light of the ongoing growth within Boise and throughout the Treasure Valley, there remains a strong need for further infrastructure investment to ensure that residents have access to the basic infrastructure systems that help them thrive. The city will be closely tracking:
- Transportation: Protect investments that ensure safe streets, affordable public transportation access, and a renewed commitment to pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.
- Broadband: Allocate Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program (BEAD) funding for the Greater Treasure Valley Network that would lay 140 miles of conduit throughout the valley to increase access and affordability to local broadband networks.
- Water: Enhance water infrastructure that could support the city and Micron’s advanced water treatment pilot and ensure water supply matches development needs.
Fighting Library Censorship
In response to claims during the 2022 and 2023 Legislative Session about potentially harmful content at public libraries, city staff again welcome the opportunity to work with lawmakers to provide ongoing information about the library’s material selection process that ensures an appropriate balance of access to information, public engagement, and age-appropriate content for children and young adults.
As the 2024 session commences, staff will continue to provide weekly updates on top legislative priorities for the city.
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