Idaho Democrats like talk of granting local option tax

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) -- Idaho Democrats are open to a $141 million personal property tax cut proposed by Gov. Butch Otter, provided there's something in it for local governments.

And they say state lawmakers would be smart to grant local option taxes,

The minority party Tuesday offered its annual response to Otter's State of the State speech, when the Republican governor announced he favored local option taxes to help replace money cities, counties and schools stand to lose from elimination of the tax on business equipment.

Senate Minority Leader Michelle Stennett said local governments must be shielded from cuts to critical services.

"For every community, the percentage they take from personal property tax is different," said Sen. Stennett. "It may work OK for those who are only taking 2 percent but some communities take 40 and 50 percent and that's a public health and safety issue."

Democratic leaders said they found much to like in the governor's speech.

But they also expressed concern that Idaho's investment in education ranks second-to-last in the nation.

And they're worried because personal income and wages in Idaho are among the lowest in the country.