Fri., Jan. 29, 2010
Senate panel passes bill to end tax return checkoff that funds parties
The Senate State Affairs Committee has voted unanimously to approve HB 379, the measure from Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, to eliminate a tax return checkoff that allows taxpayers to donate $1 of their taxes to the political party of their choice; the bill, which already has passed the House, now moves to the full Senate. Senators had plenty of questions for Luker, however, including whether a "trailer bill" will follow to reinstate the checkoff but make the donation come from the taxpayer's refund, rather than from the state general fund. "I do know that there has been discussion," Luker responded. "I think there's probably one in the works. We haven't seen it yet, but we know ... it's out there." Senators noted that when the checkoff first was approved by the Legislature in 1976, it had strong support in both houses. Said Luker, "My opinion is it seems to me that state government shouldn't be involved in collecting money for parties, that they are adequately able to do that for themselves."
Sen. Monty Pearce, R-New Plymouth, told Luker, "Thank you for plugging one more hole in the state revenues that are leaking through the dam. ... Those funds will be well-spent somewhere else."