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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Tax break bill is first road-funding measure of session

A new sales tax exemption for public road materials would cost the state general fund $15 million to $20 million per year – but Lewiston Tribune reporter Bill Spence reports that the idea is that the money would indirectly go to the Idaho Transportation Department, by lowering the cost of road work that it contracts out. Spence reports today on his “Political Theater” blog that the measure, introduced Friday morning in the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, is the first bill related to transportation funding that's been proposed this session; you can read his full post here.

Sen. Jim Rice, R-Caldwell, told the committee that contractors would be able to submit lower bids if they don't have to pay the 6 percent sales tax on construction materials. Reducing the bids would leave that $20 million free for ITD to pay for more projects, he said. “We'd have the ability to do a little more in the way of maintenance, repairs and construction.”

The legislation applies to all public roads, including city, county and federal. It doesn't include private roads built as part of a subdivision or commercial development, even if they're later deeded to a city or county. It also doesn't apply to other public infrastructure, such as water or sewer projects. Friday’s action clears the way for a full hearing on the bill.

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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