The Guardian had a chance Tuesday to ask Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff about his thoughts on state ownership of businesses.
The State of Idaho owns and operates “Affordable Storage” at 450 South Maple Grove, competing with local businesses in a tax-exempt facility.
The businessman and Boise school board member was direct with his answer when he declared, “The state should not own and operate businesses.”
He also proposed that businesses operating in state-owned properties should either pay property tax or a fee in lieu of taxes to local governments.
“Businesses should not get a free ride on the state’s tax exemption,” said Balukoff.
The issue is of particular importance since the Governor sits on the Land Board which administers state land and endowment funds. Those funds are dedicated to education and the current board claims it is “a better investment” to sell off timber and grazing land and invest in rental property and own businesses in urban areas.
The Guardian has written often about the burden placed on local governments and business when the Idaho Land Board purchases rental property–such as 10 Barrel Brewing and more than 20 other parcels in downtown Boise. Those buildings are exempt from local property taxes previously destined to the city, county, schools, and highway districts.