Legislative Update: January 31, 2022

This week, we saw the introduction of several property tax related bills in the Senate (SB 1241) and House (HB 481) aimed at improving the state’s Circuit Breaker Program. The Circuit Breaker Program helps reduce property taxes for qualified individuals. The amount of relief is based on total household income; and those who qualify may see a reduction in property taxes on their home and up to one acre of land.  

As proposed, SB1241 would raise the means test applied to the Circuit Breaker Program under HB 389 (enacted in 2021) to 200% of the median assessed value of homes within a particular county. This is a significant increase from the current 125% threshold. The means test uses certain criteria to determine who qualifies/doesn't qualify for the program based on the median assessed value of their home. 

If passed, SB1241 would allow residents who lost their much-needed assistance to rejoin the program; and allow the program criteria and relief to expand as home prices continue to increase.  In our testimony, the City of Boise proposed that members of the Senate should also consider removing the means test completely, which was added under HB 389. With the median home value in Boise nearing $500,000 and wages remaining stagnant, getting rid of the means test would further remove barriers and provide critical relief for residents. 

The City of Boise also supports HB 481, which further improves the Circuit Breaker Program by increasing the assessed home value up to $300,000 or 150% of the median assessed home value, whichever is greater.  

Residents can read the full bill texts and follow the progression of each:  

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