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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

House passes increase in college savings tax deduction, 54-15, sends to Senate

Since an annual tax deduction of up to $4,000 a year for individuals - $8,000 for married couples – was established in 2000 for contributions to Idaho’s IDeal college savings account program, tuition and fees at Idaho’s colleges and universities have gone up 189 percent, Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, R-Genesee, told the House today. So she’s proposing legislation to increase the tax deduction to up to $6,000 a year for individuals and $12,000 for married couples filing jointly.

“There are many barriers to going on, from access to preparedness,” Troy said. “Having a savings program for college, any savings program at any amount, is impetus for going on.” Idaho’s savings program, through which more than 30,000 accounts have been set up to save for college, offers tax-deferred earnings and tax-free withdrawals for qualified college expenses.

“The funds can also be used for dual credit courses offered in the high schools,” Troy told the House. “I ask for your green light in support of this important tool for our Idaho families and for the success of our state’s ambitious go-on rate.”

The bill, HB 185, passed easily, but 15 GOP House members voted against it, though there was no debate. The “no” votes were from Reps. Cheatham, Crane, Dixon, Giddings, Hanks, Harris, Kingsley, Mendive, Monks, Moon, Nate, Palmer, Scott, Stevenson, and Zito. The increase in the deduction is projected to cost the state general fund $1.1 million a year.

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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