House Speaker Lawerence Denney told the Idaho Press Club at an annual luncheon today, “I think that you will be seeing a grocery tax bill come out relatively soon – probably within the next week or so.” But asked about a different tax issue – a proposed $100 million-plus tax break for the state’s largest businesses through the repeal of the personal property tax – Denney said the time may not be right. “This may not be the year that we have the funds to do that,” he said. “But certainly I think that’s something we will continue looking at, and whether we get it done this year or not remains to be seen.”
Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes said the state can’t just repeal the personal property tax. In the Senate, he said, the debate is about offsetting any such change with other revenue. Cities and counties rely on those local tax revenues, and if they aren’t replaced, everyone else would have to pay more on their property taxes to make up the difference. “The question I think really does come back to the economy – can we replace those revenues for the counties and the cities with state funding?” Geddes asked. “Right now that’s looking very questionable at best.” He added, “A lot of pressure is being brought to bear on legislators to support that, but ultimately we have to balance the budget. … Sometimes you can’t always do what you want to do, because you have to do more what makes economic sense and is practical to do.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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