Eye On Boise

Dems call for 'tax fairness,' vs. hikes

The Legislature's minority caucuses aren't calling for a tax increase, Senate Minority Leader Kate Kelly  said. "There are many, many things we can do to improve our revenue picture without raising taxes," she said. "We have a tax system that has been very, very poorly managed." She mentioned looking at Internet sales, hiring more auditors for the state Tax Commission to collect unpaid taxes, rethinking the 2006 shift of school funding from the property tax to state funds, and re-examining existing tax credits, deductions and loopholes. House Minority Leader John Rusche mentioned local-option taxes. Said Kelly, "What we advocate from a revenue standpoint is tax fairness."

Senate President Pro-Tem Bob Geddes responded, "Fair and equitable taxes ... we're for that, we like that approach." But he added, "Every one of those exemptions have a huge constituency," and said people wouldn't want, for example, to pay sales taxes on prescription drugs. Geddes said the problem of collecting taxes on Internet sales is one that needs a national solution, and that "Idaho would be very hard-pressed to do something on its own." Geddes said the question of "balancing the cost and the benefit" of additional tax auditors is one the Legislature always should be examining.




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