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BOISE -- Railroads and public utilities would lose a tax break under a new bill that could save Idaho's general fund millions in coming years.

The utilities are are currently sheltered under a year-old law exempting them from paying personal property taxes on equipment and machinery, up to $100,000.

Sen. Jeff Siddoway, the bill's sponsor, told the House Revenue and Taxation Committee Friday he didn't think it was fair for rate-regulated utilities and railroads to be included in the tax break.

As part of last year's tax deal, the state agreed to reimburse counties for revenue they stood to lose under the exemption.

Under Siddoway's bill, headed for a hearing, utilities would continue paying all the taxes on their equipment to taxing districts.

Other businesses qualifying for the break wouldn't be affected.

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