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ID Counties Tout Personal Property Tax Relief Plan

"The personal property tax is something to look at, but there's a broader set of factors," Grigg said.

There are things both sides agree on.

Many dub the assessment on business personal property is Idaho's most hated tax, in part because it forces businesses to keep tabs on the value of desks, computers, chairs and other property, a tedious process they say costs more to administer than the revenue it produces for Idaho.

In a crucial difference between the plans, the county version gives no breaks to companies with so-called operating properties, including railroads such as Union Pacific, pipeline companies, telecommunications providers and big regulated utilities such as Idaho Power Co.

The industry plan, meanwhile, would give relief to railroads, pipelines and phone companies.

Regulated utilities would see a tax break, too, but only on future expansions to their systems. That concession is intended to counter concerns, in particular among senators, that utilities wouldn't use tax savings on expanding businesses or producing economic growth.

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, and a certified public accountant, said he's uncertain just how his members will vote, should a bill reach his chamber. But he's heard enough from them to know many are leery of doing too much, too fast.

"There are many members of our body â¿¿ I can't say it's a majority â¿¿ who have said to me, 'Why don't we do the $100,000 version,' and go home this year," Hill said. "I think that has a relatively easy road to adoption, if that's the only relief we feel like we can afford."

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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