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Eye On Boise

Thu., March 29, 2012, 8:12 a.m.

Debate on tax cut: ‘Redistribute it up to the wealthy’

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, speaks out for the tax-cut bill for top earners Thursday in the Senate Tax Committee. (Betsy Russell)
Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, speaks out for the tax-cut bill for top earners Thursday in the Senate Tax Committee. (Betsy Russell)

Sen. Elliot Werk, D-Boise, said people in his district are struggling. The House-passed tax cut bill, he said, asks him "to take their tax money and redistribute it up to the wealthy." He called the bill "disappointing," and said the Legislature could have found better ways to boost Idaho's economy. "I don't think this will have any stimulative effect whatsoever."

Sen. Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, said, "I'm not disappointed." He said a "targeted tax policy" would pick winners and losers, but general changes in tax policy help everyone. "Quite frankly doing nothing is not going to impact the economy in a good way. We have studies. I've been studying this for a long time ... talking about the impact of tax cuts here and there and everywhere. ... There are studies out there to show whatever you would like to show. But having dealt with business for 35 years ... there are a lot of things that people do consider." He said businesses look at opportunities and costs when they consider expansions, and income taxes are a cost.

Hill noted that Idaho is gradually increasing the grocery tax credit, which benefits the poor; he called the income tax cut for top earners "a few dollars comparatively."

Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, said, "What we do know is that jobs are created by people that have the money to create jobs." Sen. Diane Bilyeu, D-Pocatello, said, "I can't see where this will help our economy." She said she favored putting the money into education, especially higher education, and the state's infrastructure instead.


 




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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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