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Tax-cut vote splits House delegations

This week’s votes to keep income tax rates from rising for most Americans split the House delegations in Washington and Idaho, but unified the two state’s senators behind the last-minute deal.

Two Washington Democrats in the House voted against the tax changes, while the state’s three other Democrats and all four Republicans voted yes.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said Wednesday her vote was a close call that came down on the side of tax cuts: “My vote last night was to reduce taxes for as many Americans as possible.”

To read more reaction to the vote on tax cuts or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Small business tax cuts to take effect in 2013

If you own a small business and have yet to do your taxes, the U.S. Small Business Administration has some good news.There are 17 small-business tax cuts already signed into law and an additional five are proposed for 2013, the Tri-City Herald reports.

"These tax cuts are available to all types of small businesses, from main street shops to high growth startups," said Calvin W. Goings, assistant associate administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration, in a press release.

Some of the tax cuts are:

•Start-up entrepreneurs can deduct $5,000 for start-up expenditures.

•If you have bought new equipment, you can write-off a larger portion of the cost of that new equipment this year rather than depreciating the cost over time. The maximum amount a small business can expense on new.

•Tax credits are available for starting or continuing to provide health insurance coverage for your employees, and this applies even if you are self-employed.

•Starting in 2010, the process for deducting the cost of your cell phone and monthly bills was vastly simplified.
For more information, contact the local district office in Washington at sba.gov.<a href='http://www.sba.gov/'>sba.gov</a>

Trib: GOP Solons Help Rich Get Richer

It's good for you when Idaho Republicans cut $35.7 million from the tax burden borne by the state's corporations and richest citizens. At least, that's what they say. "It lowers taxes in the state of Idaho, it makes Idaho more competitive with its surrounding states," said House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, who is co-sponsoring this measure with Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. Speaking to the House tax committee Tuesday, Moyle promised lowering taxes at the top tier would make "Idaho known on the map and sends the world a message that Idaho is open to do business. While I don't think it's enough, I think it's a step in the right direction, and it's probably the best economic development bill we've seen all year."In other words, if the rich pay less in taxes, they'll invest more. That way, everybody else in Idaho will prosper. Just one thing: It doesn't work/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: It's hard to imagine that the Idaho Legislature would squander $36 million to provide a tax cut for the most prosperous Idahoans rather than use the money to restore draconian tax cuts of the last few years. What say you?

Hoffman’s Happy With Solons, So Far

With talk of tax cuts — and less talk of a state-run health insurance exchange — Wayne Hoffman (pictured) is liking what he's hearing. Hoffman, the executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a limited-government lobbying group, used his weekly column to give high marks to the start of the 2012 legislative session. And Hoffman didn't gloat about Gov. Butch Otter's $300 million gaffe on the health exchange, as the governor backed away from his claim that the feds would slash Idaho Medicaid payments if the state failed to create an exchange. Said Hoffman, "Otter acknowledged he misspoke." I think Hoffman makes a good point on another issue: He suggests legislators move back the two-week candidate filing period — the current deadline is March 9 — and the May 15 primary election. He sees it as a transparency issue, since it would allow voters more time to review voting records/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are you happy with what you're hearing at the beginning of the 2012 Idaho Legislature?

Read more here: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2012/01/13/krichert/hoffman_start_idaho_legislative_session_a_very_good_week#storylink=twt#storylink=cpy

Marty Jeers Crapo, Risch On Tax Cuts

Jeers … to Idaho Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch. You hear a lot of talk from these two Republicans about fighting budget deficits. That is, until it means standing up to Idaho’s richest 1.3 percent taxpayers. Saturday they joined with 35 of their Republican colleagues to preserve Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning more than $200,000 or couples making at least $250,000 a year.  Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell voted to end the high-end tax breaks. The Senate vote followed the Dec. 2 House action, where U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, also supported continuing payoffs for the rich. Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers didn’t vote/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Should tax cuts continue for everyone, including the richest 1.3% in the country?

McMorris Rodgers: Let’s vote on tax cuts

Speaking at the House GOP leadership press conference, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said today that Congress should hold an up or down vote on continuing all tax cuts before year’s end.

Democrats have been angling for a vote that extends tax cuts to everyone but those making $250,000 or more, or for extending the upper income tax cuts for two years while making the rest of the cuts permanent. Republicans, including McMorris Rodgers, want them all to be extended permanently, arguing that uncertainty over taxes is a drag on the economy.

The tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, so without passing some kind of extension, they will all go away.After a White House meeting with leaders of both parties, a small group was appointed to find some middle ground over the next few days.

McMorris Rodgers’ office was kind enough to send out the YouTube clip of this morning’s appearance.

Idaho could gain if Bush tax cuts expire

Idaho is one of nine states that that would gain state tax revenue if some or all of the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, according to a new report from Stateline.org. The reason: The nine states collect state taxes based on federal taxable income, not adjusted gross income. So if increased deductions go away, federal taxable incomes rise, and people would pay more in state income taxes. Stateline reported that in these states, a legislative decision on whether to match federal tax changes “would allow them to raise revenues without legislators having to vote on a tax increase.”

Idaho almost always matches its tax code to federal changes, in a process dubbed “conformity” that usually sees little opposition in the Idaho Legislature - even when it costs the state millions - because matching the federal tax code is so much easier on Idaho filers, who otherwise would have to essentially keep two sets of books for state and federal taxes.

Let them expire


WASHINGTON – As the White House geared up for a fight to end controversial tax cuts of the last administration, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Sunday that allowing the expiration of those targeted at wealthy Americans was “the responsible thing to do” and would not deter economic growth.

The president’s plan would end tax cuts for only 2 percent or 3 percent of the highest-earning Americans, Geithner said, while sending an important message to the world about commitment to fiscal austerity. Full story.