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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Conservatives clamor against streamlined sales tax

HB 7, a bill to deepen the state’s involvement in the Streamlined Sales Tax Project that may someday lead to taxing Internet sales, nearly died in the House Rev & Tax Committee this morning when conservative lawmakers clamored to kill it. “This is unconstitutional,” said Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, a tax protester who refused to pay his federal income tax for seven years while unsuccessfully challenging the IRS. “The ability to buy products without a sales tax is an oasis of freedom,” Hart said, according to the Associated Press. But the bill passed on a 9-8 vote.

Ironically, Idaho already requires its residents to pay sales tax on Internet and catalog sales – they’re supposed to report and pay such taxes on their income tax returns. But few do, and it’s not enforced.

With a single vote separating the bill from failure, the Associated Press reported, the health problems of one panel member - Rep. Jim Clark - turned out to be decisive. Clark suffered a minor stroke last Friday, and won't return before Monday, at the earliest. Had he been there, Clark said, he'd have voted the measure down; a tie would have killed it. "I hate it," Clark told the AP in a phone interview from his Hayden Lake home. "I think we can take it down on the (House) floor."

Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.