(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, October 5, 2020)
Boise, Idaho – Forty-two cities and counties will participate in Governor Brad Little’s $125 million plan that uses federal coronavirus relief funds to cover local public safety personnel salaries and gives cities and counties the opportunity to pass on the savings to property taxpayers.
Last week was the deadline for cities and counties to formally opt in to the Public Safety Initiative, which ultimately provides Idaho property taxpayers in participating cities or counties a 10- to 20-percent one-time reduction in their property taxes this year.
The U.S. Treasury Department guidance gives the Governor discretion to determine expenditures that are necessary due to the public health emergency. The program is a necessary and appropriate use of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds because it ensures public health and public safety budgets are funded, first responders have the resources necessary to fight COVID-19, and avoids layoffs and furloughs while passing downstream savings to taxpayers. The Governor’s Office has communicated with the U.S. Treasury about the plan numerous times since its establishment in July.
“Our focus is to support our communities and our police, fire, and EMS personnel and ensure there are no reductions in public safety during these unprecedented challenges. I appreciate the cities and counties working with us to ensure the resulting budget savings are given back to the people of Idaho in the form of property tax relief rather than backfilling local government budgets. As a fiscal conservative, I believe all federal funds – which are taxpayer funds – should be managed prudently and judiciously on behalf of all taxpayers. The Trump Administration has praised Idaho’s conservative approach to managing the federal relief funds, and I am committed to continuing to act as a responsible steward of scarce taxpayer resources,” Governor Little said.
Cities and counties that formally participated include:
- Coeur d’Alene
- Garden City
- Horseshoe Bend
- Idaho City
- Idaho Falls
- Soda Springs
- Sun Valley
- Twin Falls
Note, residents of Eagle, Star, and Kuna will benefit even though those cities are not listed because the cities chose to partner with Ada County for the services.