T.A.U.T. News


The regular TAUT meeting is on the second Tuesday of each month. The next scheduled meeting will be April 8th 2014.

TAUT will be meeting at The Parlor Salon at 539 Thain Road. Meetings will be held Once a month on the second Tuesday of each month in the evening at 7:00 PM

TAUT Happenings: The March TAUT meeting was interesting. Topics debated ranged from breaching dams for salmon to an initiative to reign in the Port of Lewiston.

Our School district continues down the path to try to run a new bond. As predicted, Brad Rice board chairman is using the 9th graders relocation as a selling point for a new high school. Presently the board wants to study the issue more and perhaps run an advisory ballot in the fall to see what the voters want to do about the old school campus. At least twice the voters have spoken but the votes fall on deaf ears. More money will be spent to try and convince the voters to tax themselves to build a new high school. The school board would be advised to look at the demographics of Lewiston. Thirty eight percent of the population are senior citizens. They might want to keep that in mind while they try to cram a new bond down the throats of the electorate.

A rumor floating around is that the city will try to run a bond to finish the park at 12th and Warner. The idea is to build a super ball field in order to draw in more money for Lewiston. Not a viable plan since there would not be extra money generated from out of town teams who rotate through specific geographic areas. Voters would be deceived into supporting a huge ball park that would not generate extra money but would add to the property taxes needed to pay off the bond.



Our purpose is to achieve better government through the responsible use of taxpayer money.

1. We strive to educate our citizens on issues facing our community so that they can make informed decisions.
2. We work to limit the scope and growth of local government.
3. We work to achieve a more equitable tax structure for our community.
4. To make government accountable to the taxpayers.
State Law Doesn’t Restrain Property Tax Increases

Urban Renewal Agencies

Under Idaho Code 50-20,29 et seq. local political subdivisions are allowed to create Urban Renewal Agencies to deal with urban decay. This means that by statute, the city of Lewiston and like municipalities can create zones within their jurisdictions that are exempt from taxation. Any taxes generated within these zones are reserved for the urban renewal projects within each zones.

These urban renewal areas are created for a period of 20 years. Extension are generally not allowed. Urban renewal cannot exceed ten percent of the total taxed properties within the urban renewal zone.

If a property within a certain zone is renovated or torn down and rebuilt the structure goes up in value which increases the tax amount the urban renewal agency will receive. Conversely the increase in tax revenue will not go into the general tax fund but will stay in the urban renewal area. This causes a decrease in taxes in the general fund. Tax payers then must pay higher taxes to offset the loss of tax revenue used to pay for services and infrastructure maintenance and upkeep. In addition, the general tax fund pays for services to the urban renewal area such as fire and police protection.

In Lewiston there are three such zones. One of the zones was a wheat field that had nothing on it. It hardly fit the definition of a blighted area unless of course you include the wheat blight that might exist on the property. Luckily, a large business firm has bought into the property and will pay taxes on it. That doesn’t help the taxpayer of Lewiston or Nez Perce county.

The danger of these urban renewal areas is that they can levy taxes and are not accountable to the tax payer. Only the city council or county commissioners can control them. However that is seldom done.

Below is an example of a city that created a urban renewal agency and went on to abuse it becoming more powerful that the city council that created it.More



Financing projects at a local level has emerged from the debate on building a new school in Lewiston. There are two sites listed immediately after this introduction showing the history of the legislature’s refusal to allow a local option tax.

A short argument for why a local option tax should be allowed will be posted after the two sites are posted for those who support the local option tax.
Spokesman Review on the Local Option Tax
Idaho Statesman on the Local Option Tax
Example of a Local Option Tax
Our legislature does not give local jurisdictions many options when a local jurisdiction wants to fund a project. Mainly you issue a bond and pay for it with property taxes and personal property taxes. A bond puts the burden on home owners and businesses who pay interest on the bond over a period of time which increases the principal amount owing considerably. People who do not own property or a business do not pay taxes that the property owner or a business are required to pay.

If you have a local option tax you do not have to pay interest thus saving sometimes millions of dollars. It is a consumer tax where all pay their share not just property owners or businesses.
David Estes – Editor

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