Bringing the Economy Home

Session Wrap: The Tax Plans That Failed

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Inside the Idaho State Capitol dome.

The Legislature’s main duty is to create a  budget that spends less than it takes in.  Lawmakers did.

They also agreed to a more than $35 million tax cut for Idaho’s top earners. They’re setting aside about $35 million for the state’s general fund reserves, and they agreed to an almost $35 million pay increase for teachers.

But a handful of other spending/tax measures didn’t pass:

  • Streamlined Sales Tax: This is one of those perennial efforts that fails each year.  Some lawmakers want to set up a system for the state to collect Idaho’s 6 percent sales tax on items purchased online.  Idahoans are already required to pay this tax, but are supposed to do so by reporting online purchases on their annual tax forms.  The Idaho Statesman says the state is losing about $35 million a year because it doesn’t have a ‘streamlined’ system.
  • Super-majority Tax Bill: Thirty-three Representatives wanted to make it tougher for any new taxes to pass the Legislature.  The super-majority bill would have required two-thirds of the Legislature to sign off on new taxes or tax increases.  The measure didn’t make it past the House.
  • Cigarette Tax Increase: The American Cancer Society and 25 other interest groups wanted the Legislature to raise Idaho’s 57-cent cigarette tax to $1.82.  Idaho’s current tax rate is one of the lowest in the country.  The plan did have some support among lawmakers, but in the end, never made it out of committee.

These failed bills will likely return in one form or another in 2013.  Would you support any of them?

We originally reported the Legislature’s only constitutional duty is to pass a balanced budget.  That statement is too narrow and doesn’t consider other details like passing laws and maintaining government.


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