Two House GOP leaders have hatched a plan to use $45 million from the federal economic stimulus to cut corporate tax rates, and floated the idea to IACI, Idaho Statesman political columnist Dan Popkey reports today. You can read his full report here. The plan, from House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, and House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, might not fit with the rules for federal stimulus funds, and it got a decidedly cool reception from the co-chairs of the Legislature’s joint budget committee. House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told Popkey, “How can you do that in this climate - give a corporate tax break while you’re trimming education and state employees?” Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron called it “foolishness,” saying, “We would be laying off people from decent-paying jobs, furloughing people, reducing salaries. We’d love to recruit jobs, but our approach is to save the jobs people currently have.”
A couple of other downsides to the plan: It’s up to the governor how to apportion the chunk of federal stimulus money the two have in mind, and he hasn’t signed on; and the last time Idaho granted permanent tax cuts with one-time money (in that case, a state budget surplus), it played havoc with the state budget for years, including forcing the first-ever permanent, mid-year holdback in education funding in 2002.