Kellogg Tax Bill Ok’d

The state House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday sponsored by Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, that would allow the donation of equipment to colleges and universities to be deducted from taxable income.

Current law allows such tax deductions for donating computers and other equipment to public schools up to the high school level. Kellogg introduced the same bill late last session, but not in time to have the Senate pass it.

The House voted 66-3 to move the bill to the Senate for consideration.

Kellogg also won introduction of another tax-related bill in a House committee Wednesday morning. Kellogg sponsored the bill for Kootenai County Clerk Tom Taggart, who wants the state to change its formula for redistributing sales tax dollars to counties.

The bill would essentially allow fast-growing counties such as Kootenai to receive more of its sales tax revenue back. The bill will get a hearing later in the session, Kellogg said.

In other matters: State Schools Superintendent Anne Fox’s initiatives to strengthen reading skills, raise standardized test scores and improve discipline have failed to win the support of even the House Education Committee.

Legislative budget writers already were unsupportive of the $4 million package, and Gov. Phil Batt didn’t include it in his proposed budget. The budget committee will begin setting budgets next week.

The Education Committee is typically more concerned about needs in education than the state’s financial picture. But, in its recommendation to the budget committee, the Education panel declined to include $2 million to improve student testing and $1 million each for enhancing reading programs and heightening student discipline.

All three were at the heart of Fox’s successful campaign that also focused on concern for and accountability to taxpayers.

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