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Huckleberries Online

Mon., Feb. 24, 2014, 8:58 a.m.

Tax Cut Makes Sense For 15 Seconds

Lifting Idaho's sales tax from groceries is a great campaign slogan for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Sen. Russ Fulcher and his comrade, Sen. Cliff Bayer, both R-Meridian. It sounds good - for about 15 seconds. Spend 15 minutes, however. You won't think so. Forty-five states charge a sales tax. But only a handful, including Idaho, tax food. Beginning in 1965, Idaho opted to give residents a grocery tax rebate on their income taxes. Over time, inflation eroded the rebate's value to virtually a pittance. That changed after 2006, when lawmakers shifted the burden for school support from property taxes paid by corporations and wealthy families to a sales tax borne by lower-income households. In 2008, they bumped up the tax credit. It's now $100 for each member of a low-income household. Everyone else gets $80, but it will rise to $100 by 2015. At that point, the rebate will cost about $142 million/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Can we afford to eliminate the sales tax on groceries when schools would lose funding?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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