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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘They go home, order it online and save 6 percent’

Shawn Barigar, president and CEO of the Twin Falls Area Chamber of Commerce, told the House Rev & Tax Committee this morning, "There is a western wear store in Twin Falls that sells saddles. And this particular retailer has people come in the store, they look at the saddle, they write down the model number, they write down the detail, they go home and they order it online and save 6 percent. That's unfair to these business folks. ... This is the right thing to do. I believe this is the right time to do it."

Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation testified against the bill, HB 581, saying, "If you want equity, the way that you do it is to lower your tax." He said, "If you pass this bill, you're taking $35 million out of the economy. ... That's good, that that money is in the economy rather than in government."

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, responded, "So it appears that your position supports tax scofflaws." Asked Rev & Tax Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, "Are you suggesting we should change the existing law?" Hoffman said, "Yes, you should." He said Idaho's existing sales and use tax, which is a tax imposed on consumption, is "just a mechanism to gather more money for the state." Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, told Hoffman that Idaho decided 47 years ago to impose its sales and use tax. Said Hoffman, "The reason why you're doing it is because you can, and that's not a very good reason."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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