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Eye On Boise

Rep. Hart goes to court to fight $53K in back state income taxes

Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart is going to court over his back state income taxes, filing an appeal in 1st District Court in Kootenai County charging that Idaho's state income tax is unconstitutional. Today, the state of Idaho filed a motion to dismiss the appeal; the court set a Dec. 7 hearing on the motion.

Hart's seven-page appeal raises an array of issues, including whether Idaho's state income tax "as a graduated tax, fails the uniformity requirement" of Idaho's state Constitution; and whether the state Board of Tax Appeals, in Hart's case, "upheld the sanctity" of Idaho's constitutional privilege protecting state legislators from civil action during legislative sessions.

Those were among the issues Hart raised in appealing an order to pay $53,523 in back state income taxes, penalties and interest last spring, but the state Board of Tax Appeals rejected his appeal. It also rejected a motion for reconsideration Hart filed in September.

In late September, a special House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to recommend that Hart, a three-term Republican state representative from Athol, be removed from the House Revenue and Taxation Committee while he continues his personal fights against back state and federal income taxes. Hart refused to step down from the committee voluntarily, maintaining that he has no conflict of interest; House Speaker Lawerence Denney has said he'll wait until after Tuesday's election to decide whether to remove Hart from the panel. You can read my full story here at

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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