The House has just voted 62-7 to pass HB 81, Rep. Cliff Bayer’s bill to raise the grocery tax credit from $20 to $50 for everyone, and from $35 to $70 for seniors. The vote came after nearly an hour of debate, including sharp warnings from some lawmakers about the bill’s cost, $47.5 million a year. The measure now moves to the Senate.
The House Revenue & Taxation Committee chose HB 81 over Gov. Butch Otter’s plan for a targeted, means-tested credit that would have given up to $90 a year in grocery tax credits to the lowest-income Idahoans, $105 for seniors, but little or none to the higher-income; the price tag on the governor’s bill was less than half as much, at $22 million a year. Ten North Idaho lawmakers co-sponsored Bayer’s bill.