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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Tax panel wraps up its work with no definitive outcome

The Legislature’s Tax Working Group has wrapped up its work with no definitive outcome. “At least the members of the committee got an education on some of the history and why tax policy is the way it is,” said Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens. “I think you have to understand the history before you can plot a course for the future. I think the diversity of the committee’s opinions shows why it’s difficult to plot one course forward.”

House Rev & Tax Chairman Gary Collins, R-Nampa, said no decision has been made on the four draft tax-cut bills the group focused on today. “They’re just ideas, I would say,” he said.

Senate Tax Chairman Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, said, “As the economy grows, that’ll give you an opportunity as the revenues increase coming into the state to do some reductions, if the spending hasn’t outran the growth. We’re pretty conservative here, and spending is watched pretty closely.” First, he said, “We all want to get our education funded properly.” Once that’s accomplished, he said, lawmakers could consider tax reductions or shoring up parts of government that need it.

Asked about the Idaho Chamber Alliance proposal for a multi-year rework of the state’s tax system, addressing everything from review of exemptions to stabilizing revenue to cutting rates, Collins said he doesn’t know if he’ll give it a hearing in Rev & Tax, but said, “I will look at it.” Siddoway said he’s “cautious” about the idea. “I don’t want to make long-term commitments without feeling confident that we can afford ‘em,” he said.

Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said he’s working on a local-option tax bill, which was among the priorities the Chamber Alliance identified. “It’s not the rate that’s holding us back,” he said. He noted that local-option taxing “has had bipartisan support before.” You can read more here.

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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