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Eye On Boise

Posts tagged: taxes

Lawmaker questions Idaho tax rule changes re same-sex couples

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state lawmaker contends Idaho's tax collectors risk violating the U.S. Constitution by requiring same-sex couples who are legally married elsewhere to do extra work when filing state income taxes. Boise Democratic Rep. John Gannon, a lawyer, says litigation in Ohio suggests Idaho's new rules requiring married gay couples to recalculate state taxes as singles after filing joint federal returns could be vulnerable. Recently, an Ohio federal judge ordered the state to recognize a gay couple's marriage in New York despite Ohio's constitutional ban. The judge's rationale was Ohio recognizes opposite-sex marriages contracted elsewhere but otherwise illegal in Ohio. Idaho follows a similar policy, Gannon says, making it potentially discriminatory now to single out gay couples on their taxes returns. The Idaho Tax Commission contends its new rules are legal.

Implications of personal property tax repeal…

Click below for a report from AP reporter John Miller on the potential repeal of the personal property tax on business property. Gov. Butch Otter said Friday that he'll promote a repeal plan in his State of the State address to lawmakers on Monday, provided it can be accomplished without harming local government in Idaho. But there are wide-ranging implications, including tax shifts.

Local option supporters plan initiative for 2014 election

A group of local officials from throughout the state has announced that it'll pursue a local-option tax initiative in the 2014 general election, after determining there wasn't time to make the 2012 ballot. “Our commitment to the success of this effort has not wavered. By adjusting our target to the November 2014 General Election rather than this fall, we will have the time we need to make this a truly statewide effort,” Boise businessman Clay Carley said. Click below for the group's full announcement.

Favorable poll boosts campaign for cigarette tax hike

Here’s a link to my full story at on how Idahoans overwhelmingly support raising state taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to address the state’s budget deficit, according to a new statewide poll, even as they oppose other tax hikes and spending cuts. The poll, conducted by Moore Information, was released today by a coalition of health groups that launched a push for a big hike in Idaho’s 57-cent-per-pack cigarette tax in the coming year. Backers said a $1.50-per-pack hike would be a “huge win for Idaho’s public health.”

Poll: ‘Narrowly optimistic’ Idahoans don’t want funding cuts or most tax hikes

There’s some very interesting data in the Moore Information poll released today by a coalition of health groups pushing for a big cigarette tax increase in Idaho. Among the results: 47 percent of Idahoans say the state is generally headed in the right direction, while 40 percent think Idaho’s on the wrong track. That’s pretty closely divided; the poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent. Pollster Bob Moore calls that a “narrowly optimistic” voter mood.

While really big numbers favored increasing taxes on alcohol and tobacco to address Idaho’s budget deficit, respondents strongly opposed raising the sales tax, income tax or gas tax. And by even bigger numbers, they opposed reducing funding for roads, health care or education. You can read the full results here.

Crapo: Support growing for craft-beer tax cut

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press:  BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo says his bill to cut taxes for small breweries is gaining support, as evidenced by the addition of 24 co-sponsors. Crapo has joined Democratic Sens. John Kerry of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as Republican Olympia Snowe of Maine, as an original sponsor of this push to halve federal excise taxes for smaller breweries. They contend the break to save small brewers about $3.50 per barrel on their first 60,000 barrels annually will leave them more money to invest in workers and supplies. Crapo, a Republican, will be touting his bill this weekend at the Portneuf Valley Brewing Company in Pocatello, though he won’t be sipping a cold, frothy one: He’s a member of the Mormon church, whose adherents don’t drink alcohol. He will join the Idaho Grain Producers Association to discuss the measure’s benefits to agriculture.

Lawmaker calls for temporary income tax hike to stave off cuts

Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, and Moscow economist Judy Brown have sent a letter to the editor to newspapers across the state calling for a temporary tax increase to head off a “train wreck” of cuts in state services. “We believe (a) temporary tax increase can be less harmful to families and less damaging to the state’s economy than the alternative: deep cuts in vital services,” the two wrote. They pointed to former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s temporary, one-cent, two-year sales tax hike to avoid cuts to education in 2003 as a model, but said this time, “a temporary income tax surcharge would provide the solution we seek. … A modest 5 per cent surcharge on state income tax with taxable income exceeding $50,000 would generate about $44 million per year.” They estimated that for a family of four with house hold income of $76,000, that’d mean a $162 surcharge. Click below to read the full letter.

Ringo was careful to note that her letter doesn’t represent the view of “either political party;” neither Republican nor Democratic caucuses in the Legislature have been advocating a tax increase. But Ringo said she’s hearing concern from people in her district about serious cuts to everything from higher education to Medicaid to parks. “I just see an awful lot of needs, and I think we’re actually going to be hurting people,” she said. “If we can’t provide some of these services one way or another, I think we’re going to be doing more damage to the economy than not. I just think we should have a full-blown debate about all the pros and cons, and not just have the knee-jerk anti-tax reaction.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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