Idaho Lawmakers Review Urban Renewal Practices
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho lawmakers are once again reviewing the state's 50-year-old urban renewal laws to pinpoint possible reforms, but so far no solution has been presented that would make everyone happy.
A legislative interim committee met Monday to discuss the issue. The panel will submit a recommendation to the 2016 Idaho Legislature. Urban renewal agencies have become a staple in Idaho municipalities looking to improve blighted areas or boost economic growth. Such agencies collect property taxes from improvements inside their districts — called a "tax increment" — and dedicate the revenue to provide incentives to lure and finance new projects.
However, critics argue that some agencies abuse the law to promote development that would have happened anyway while also operating under low accountability guidelines.