Gov. Little announces $200 million to help pay first responders’ salaries
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IDAHO FALLS — Gov. Brad Little announced $200 million in property tax relief to support local public safety personnel.
During a trip across the state Monday, Little stopped in Idaho Falls to unveil the plan to use federal funds for the salaries of police, fire and EMS staff. The program uses $200 million of the $1.25 billion Idaho received from the CARES Act to alleviate the burden off of local counties and cities.
“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,” Little said.
Little said the United States Treasury only allows CARES Act funds to be used for certain things and public safety personnel salaries is one of them.
“The plan outlined today is a very good example of state officials, governor and legislature working with local officials to produce an outcome so that we can support our first responders, which is one of our primary goals for local government. At the same time, this plan provides property tax relief to Idahoans who have been equally affected by the pandemic,” Bonneville County Commissioner Roger Christensen said.
Christensen explained that the program is not mandated and local governments are able to opt in.
The requirements local governments need to meet to participate in the program will be finalized at the Governor’s Coronavirus Financial Advisory Committee meeting on June 10 and will be available on rebound.idaho.gov.
One condition will be that local governments must agree to pass along their savings to property tax relief.
“I think this will provide some short term relief that will be meaningful and helpful in these very stressful times, but also act as an incentive for the legislature to really get in and look at a more permanent solution to help with the property tax problems and the burdens that we’ve been facing here in the state of Idaho,” Senate President Pro Tempore Brent Hill said.