LEWISTON, Idaho — A Washington County assessor says Secretary of State Lawerence Denney improperly received a homeowner’s exemption this year on his home in Midvale.

The Lewiston Tribune (http://bit.ly/2xywYOp ) reports the Washington County Board of Examiners decided in June that Denney deserved the exemption.

However, Washington County Assessor Georgia Plischke has since appealed the panel’s decision to the state Board of Tax Appeals. She says Denney is taking an exemption in Washington County, but spends most of his time living in Canyon County. A hearing was held earlier this month, but a ruling hasn’t yet been released.

“He claims the exemption in Washington County, even though he lives in Nampa, in Canyon County,” Plischke said. “State statute says the exemption may be granted if the property is owner-occupied and used as the primary dwelling place. There’s no language that says he can choose which property he wants the exemption on.”

Denney says he maintains his voter registration, vehicle registration and driver’s license in Washington County. Denney added that he lives in Nampa during the week because it’s easier to commute to the Capitol, but he returns to his Midvale home most weekends, holidays and vacations.

The Washington County Board of Examiners originally agreed to grant Denney an exemption based on those reasons.

“I intend to retire there” he said. “It’s where I was born and raised. My parents owned it when I was born, and my wife and I bought it when we became parents. We raised all our kids there. It’s home.”

Denney added that he would probably get a bigger exemption on his Canyon County home, but purposefully chooses to do so in Washington County because it’s considered his primary residence.

This is the second time in the past week an Idaho elected official has faced scrutiny over claiming a homeowner’s exemption.

Republican Priscilla Giddings of White Bird had a homeowner’s exemption on a house she owned just outside of Boise between 2010 and 2016.

Giddings was elected to the Idaho House to represent Legislative District 7 in November 2016. State law requires legislative candidates to reside within legislative districts for at least one year prior to the general election.

According to Giddings, she moved to Idaho County prior to Nov. 7, 2015 to help build her new home. That was also around the same time Giddings switched her voter registration from Ada County to Idaho County.

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke of Oakley has said he needs to do some research into the issue, but warned that people can’t claim a homeowner’s exemption in Ada County and be a qualified elector in a separate county.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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