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Eye On Boise

House barely passes Girl Scout cookie tax exemption, on 35-31 vote

The House has narrowly passed legislation to remove the sales tax from Girl Scout cookies and Boy Scout food sales, passing HB 449 on a 35-31 vote. “Today, only two states tax Girl Scout cookies, Idaho and Hawaii,” Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, the bill’s sponsor, told the House. “Forty-eight other states see the benefit of these organizations.”

Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, said he’s a backer of Boy Scouts and has been a Boy Scout leader, but said, “However I do pause because we in this bill are singling out two individual organizations by name … to the exclusion of other similar organizations. I think that’s a horrible precedent to be setting in our tax policy. It begs for more special interest types of legislation.” He said, “I think that a more broad bill that gave these type of exemptions to these organizations and similar organizations would be more in line with our Idaho Constitution, which recognizes that taxes should be general and uniform, rather than singling out organizations.”

Trujillo, in response to questions from other lawmakers, read a long list of other organizations already specifically named in Idaho state law to receive sales tax exemptions.

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, debated twice against the bill.  “I would just like to say that we have started down a road that’s obviously not constitutional, because it’s not equal exemptions across the board,” she said. “Do we continue down this road of voting against the Constitution, or do we stop it now and write a bill that affects everyone equal? … Do we continue down the road of breaking the Constitution or do we stop that and fix it now?”

The bill now moves to the Senate side; here's how House members voted:

Voting yes: Reps. Anderst, Andrus, Bateman, Bedke, Beyeler, Burtenshaw, Chaney, Clow, Collins, Crane, Dayley, Hartgen, Hixon, Holtzclaw, Horman, Jordan, Kauffman, Kerby, Loertscher, Luker, McCrostie, McDonald, Miller, Moyle,  Nye, Pence, Perry, Raybould, Redman, Rudolph, Shepherd, Smith, Thompson, Trujillo, VanderWoude,

Voting no: Reps.  Anderson, Barbieri, Batt, Bell, Boyle, Cheatham, Chew, DeMordaunt, Dixon, Erpelding, Gestrin, Gibbs, Harris, King, Kloc, Malek, McMillan, Mendive, Monks, Nate, Packer, Palmer, Romrell, Rubel, Scott, Sims, Troy, VanOrden, Wintrow, Wood, and Youngblood.

Absent: Reps. Gannon, Nielsen, Rusche and Wills.

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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