Idaho using federal relief funds to cover public safety costs

Governor-elect Little announces transition committee
Posted at 10:47 AM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 12:47:06-04

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Governor Brad Little and legislators announced June 8 the state is leveraging federal coronavirus relief funds to cover local safety personnel salaries. The funds will allow cities and counties to pass on the savings to property taxpayers. $200 million in property tax relief is expected to be provided by the move.

"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," said Governor Little. "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."

Idaho received $1.25 billion in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds, addressing the economic impacts of COVID-19. U.S. Treasure guidelines allow funds to cover the payroll of public health and safety personnel, and Governor Little and legislators agreed to direct up to $200 million for this purpose to local governments that agree to pass along the resulting budget savings to Idahoans in the form of property tax relief.

"Meaningful property tax relief has been the acute focus of lawmakers for several years now," said Scott Bedke, House Speaker. "We will continue our efforts to find new ways to provide Idahoans ongoing relief from rising property taxes, but we have an opportunity now to help Idahoans in the short term."

Governor Little's Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee will finalize the details for local governments to participate in the program at its meeting on June 10. The program details will be available on the Idaho Rebounds website.

"Cities and counties have a unique opportunity before us to support our local public safety personnel and pass on the savings directly to the taxpayers," Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen said. "We appreciate Governor Little and our state elected officials for working with us to support Idahoans during this difficult time."