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Tax base erosion faces taxpayers who make up difference

Letter to the Editor

How does one get citizens/the taxpayers to pay attention? Sometimes I liken it to the old parable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive.

This year brings another round of elections asking voters to approve financing the maintenance and operations of area schools. Regardless of your position on whether or not levies should be supported, I want to make everyone aware of the reality that faces local taxpayers—the continuing erosion of our tax base.

A few years ago, the Wilderness Land Trust purchased the Painter Bar property down on the Salmon River. Last year, they sold it to the federal government; a transaction that removed another $358,981 of taxable value from the Idaho County tax rolls, ‘forever’. And no one said a thing! Just last week, Idaho Forest Group drove a knife through the heart of one of the last industrial sites in the Clearwater Valley, by selling the old Blue North Mill property to the Nez Perce Tribe. That action removed $682,771 of taxable value from Idaho County and the Kamiah School District, forever. And no one said a thing!  And coming soon, the transfer of some, if not all, of the 38,000 Western Pacific Timber acres/ upper Lochsa checker board. These private lands currently have an assessed value of $12,819,062 and just the tax receipts from those lands that went to School District 244 were over $40,000. Remember the Upper Lochsa Land Exchange. I said something about this one and was soundly attacked and I received no support from the school board. 

Taxpayers, guess who has to make up the difference?

Skip Brandt


(Editor’s note: Brandt serves as the chair of the Idaho County Commission.)


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