Bringing the Economy Home

Idaho Legislature Approves $20.7 Million In Tax Cuts

Emilie Ritter Saunders / StateImpact

The Idaho Legislature will go home today having approved nearly $20.7 million in tax cuts. That’s a fraction, less than one percent, of the state’s general fund budget.

Far and away the largest share of that cut is the $20 million approved to offset the effect of partially repealing Idaho’s business personal property tax. The repeal means about 90 percent of Idaho companies won’t pay personal property tax on their business equipment and machinery.

Lawmakers also approved three other measures that will mean $698,900 less in the state’s main bank account. Two of those pieces of legislation, House Bill 2 and House Bill 139, make changes to the state’s tax code. The other exempts food and beverage samples from the sales tax.

The Legislature also approved a tax exemption for land developers who make site improvements, and an exemption on tribal reservation lands. A legislative analyst says both of those affect property taxes, which are assessed at the county level, and don’t have a direct general fund impact. Another approved tax change will exempt wells drilled for oil and gas production in Idaho. Again, there is no projected general fund impact, because this bill affects severance taxes.

A measure important to Idaho’s growing tech industry clarifies the status of cloud computing, that is, delivering service over the internet instead of offering software for purchase on a store shelf. According to Legislative Services, the state Tax Commission hasn’t been collecting sales tax on cloud computing services, so there is no negative budget impact.

As for the tax exemptions or credits that didn’t pass this year, most of the proposals were approved by the House, but didn’t make it through the Senate.

  • Idaho will still be one of just two states that makes Girl Scouts pay sales tax on their annual cookie sale proceeds. Despite a concerted lobbying effort by area Scouts, the Senate didn’t introduce, debate or vote on the $140,000 exemption. The House passed the bill 59-11.

A $100,000 tax credit for donations made to the Assistance League of Boise didn’t make it through either chamber, nor did a tax credit for investments made to value-added agricultural improvements.

Last year, lawmakers approved a $35 million tax cut for top income earners and approved a handful of new tax exemptions.


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