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Idaho Capitol Building
As of Tuesday, September 4, 2018
The Idaho Statesman and Lewiston Tribune last week reported an Ada County Board of Equalization decision to deny an appeal by Rep. Priscilla Giddings (R-White Bird) of taxes she says state law exempts. The exemption at issue is for her Garden City (Boise-area) house, where she lived before moving back to District 7 in advance of her election to the House of Representatives.
“I followed the elections laws, I followed the property tax laws, and I followed the Ada County Assessor’s guidance in 2015 on how to transfer my homeowner’s exemption, yet the Ada County Commissioners are not required to use the law; they just provided their political opinion in this case,” Giddings told the Free Press. “It’s unfortunate that they turned their clerical error into a political issue. I learned that ‘You can’t fight city hall’ especially when they all use the same taxpayer-funded lawyer in making their decisions. I will appeal to the BTA (state board of tax appeals) since they have a better working knowledge of tax law. This situation continues to highlight Idaho’s need for tax reform at all levels.”
On Aug. 28, the Statesman reported the dollar amount at issue is $1,230.
“We hear the term residency mentioned in [the Ada County Assessor’s Office] presentation several times,” Giddings’ attorney told the Ada County Commissioners Aug. 13. “That is not the legal standard. It is not residency. It is the place that is the primary dwelling place and that has a separate definition, that is separate from the definitions for purposes of vehicle registration, voter registration and for applications for elective office. Completely different.”
Having heard the argument while acting as the county commissioners, the Ada County board of equalization – composed of Ada County commissioners – denied Giddings’ appeal Aug. 27.
“I did not find (Giddings’ Garden City home) was owner-occupied,” Ada County Commissioner Rick Visser said during the BOE hearing. “It appears that Ms. Giddings was…a resident of Idaho County, not Ada County, on Jan. 1, 2016.”
Giddings, a Salmon River High School graduate, moved to White Bird from Garden City ahead of the 2016 Republican spring primary, which she won by more than 1,000. She won her general election campaign by 8,000 votes that fall.