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Unemployment insurance tax cut bill reintroduced

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 11, 2018, 9:09 p.m.

Idaho House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, pitches an unemployment insurance tax cut bill to the House Revenue & Taxation Committee on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018; the panel unanimously agreed to introduce the bill. (Betsy Z. Russell)
Idaho House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, pitches an unemployment insurance tax cut bill to the House Revenue & Taxation Committee on Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018; the panel unanimously agreed to introduce the bill. (Betsy Z. Russell)

The first bill of this year’s Idaho legislative session is a tax cut for Idaho employers that was proposed and widely supported last year, but got killed in the cross-fire between the House and the Senate over other tax cuts.

House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, asked the House Revenue and Taxation Committee to introduce the measure on Thursday morning; the panel complied unanimously. The measure would cut state unemployment insurance taxes that are paid by Idaho employers. The change would save employers $115 million over the next three years without any cost to the state general fund; it’s proposed because of a robust and growing balance in the state’s unemployment trust fund.

“Most of you … will recognize this from last year,” Moyle told the committee. It’s largely the same, but includes some technical changes and an emergency clause to make it take effect retroactively as of Jan. 1.

“Time is of the essence,” Moyle told the tax panel. “The sooner we can get this done, the sooner the employers of the state can know what the divisors are.”

The bill cuts the divisor that determines the base rates for unemployment insurance tax from 1.5 to 1.3.

State Labor Director Melinda Smyser said, “I was really excited that there were no objections. The point is we’re trying to make it through the Legislature very quickly, because we want to help businesses with the new rates.”

If the bill passes and becomes law by Feb. 28, the Department of Labor would avoid the need to issue credits for payments made during the first quarter of 2018, and the timing would allow Idaho employers sufficient time to reprogram their accounting and payroll systems.

The bill’s lead sponsors are listed as Moyle, the Department of Labor, and Gov. Butch Otter’s office.


 

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