Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, brought a bill to the House Rev & Tax Commission this morning to grant a sales tax exemption to homeless shelters, saying, “I understand this is exemption Wednesday – so that’s why this bill is before you.” The committee had just finished voting in favor of a bill to give a permanent sales tax exemption to pregnancy resource clinics that don’t perform abortions. A day earlier, the same committee killed legislation to grant a tax credit for value-added agricultural products, with members saying the tax code shouldn’t create “winners and losers” in the economy.
Vander Woude’s sales tax exemption for homeless shelters would expire in two years. “I think it’s a good thing for us, when we grant a new sales tax exemption, to take a look at it after a couple of years, see how it’s functioning, see if it’s doing what we want it to do,” he told the committee. He noted that a similar measure passed the committee and the House last year, but died on the Senate side. “A homeless shelter reaches probably the most disadvantaged people, the most desperate people in our communities,” he said.
Under questioning from committee members, Vander Woude said the exemption would let homeless shelters buy food, bedding and the like without paying sales tax. But House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, raised questions about how the expiration clause was structured, so the committee voted to hold off on the bill for a day or two to examine that.
Then, it voted unanimously to introduce a tax credit measure sought by the Assistance League of Boise.