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Eye On Boise

Committee backs review of exemptions

The Senate Local Government & Taxation Committee was unanimous this afternoon, agreeing to send the full Senate SB 1381, the bill from Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, to require the Legislature to review all sales tax exemptions at least every five years, and put a five-year expiration date on any new exemptions enacted after July 1, 2010. Winder said the bill is based on "the philosophy that these exemptions just don't stay there forever, they are reviewed and they are looked at."

Other members of the committee praised Winder's move, but expressed some doubt as to whether the much-tried tactic will work. "I appreciate you doing that," Sen. Tim Corder, R-Mountain Home, told Winder. "I did it twice my first two years." Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, said he'll support the bill despite his doubts about how to get such a thing accomplished. "This might actually shine some light on some exemptions and continue to foster a discussion in this state about what tax policy in this state should be and what changes should occur," Stegner said.

There already are two other such bills pending; SB 1277, co-sponsored by seven Senate Democrats,  would make all state tax exemptions, credits and deductions expire on Jan. 1, 2012, unless specifically extended by state law and would require all new exemptions to expire in five years; while HB 396, from Reps. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, and Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, would set up a commission to review all existing sales tax exemptions at least every eight years for equity, fairness and more. Currently, Idaho's sales tax exemptions total more than the sales tax takes in.

Eye On Boise

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