The Idaho House voted 48-20 today in favor of HB 561, legislation from Rep. Jason Monks, R-Nampa, to require that in any future year when state revenue rises by more than 6 percent, personal and corporate income tax rates automatically be cut by one-tenth of 1 percent. The bill would let future lawmakers override that by passing a resolution.
Monks said the one-tenth cut would reduce state general fund revenue by about $36 million, in present-day figures. “What we do is we’re saying when we get a lot of excess money, we’re going to ... give that back to the people,” he said.
Among those speaking against the bill was JFAC Co-Chair Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, who asked the House, “Why have a legislature? You have the power. You have the responsibility, and you have the authority to come and set in place a budget for core responsibilities.” She noted, “The growth that has come is not just money. It’s ... spiking at the prison level, it’s spiking in Medicaid. … We’ve had, I think, 60 more children in our little school district in Jerome this year. We’re going to continue to have that growth. You have this authorty and this power now: Keep it. You have a good Rev & Tax committee. And you have a pretty good budget committee. Let the system work. You don’t really need this. … Don’t do it on auto-pilot.”
Rep. Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, said the bill would tie future lawmakers to income tax cuts when they might prefer another type of tax relief – such as eliminating the sales tax on groceries.
Rep. Ryan Kerby, R-New Plymouth, told the House, “This bill is extremely well thought-out, I love the approach , and under certain circumstances I would love to have been a co-sponsor. Those circumstances are if we had passed the grocery tax. That has not been done.”
Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, said in his view, on the grocery tax repeal, “the money is sitting there in the credit for the most part, it’s there. … This is a different bill. It provides ... for income tax (cuts) in the future when we have a great year, so I think I’m going to support it.”
The vote moves the bill to the Senate side. Here’s how the vote broke down:
Voting yes: Reps. Amador, Anderst, Armstrong, Barbieri, Blanksma, Boyle, Chaney, Cheatham, Clow, Collins, Crane, Dayley, DeMordaunt, Dixon, Ehardt, Gannon, Gestrin, Gibbs, Giddings, Hanks, Harris, Hartgen, Holtzclaw, Kauffman, Kingsley, Loertscher, Luker, Malek(Patano), McDonald, Mendive, Monks, Moon, Moyle, Nate, Packer, Palmer, Perry, Raybould, Redman, Scott, Shepherd, Stevenson, Syme, VanderWoude, Wagoner, Youngblood, Zito and Zollinger.
Voting no: Reps. Anderson, Bell, Burtenshaw, Chew, Erpelding, Horman, Kerby, King, Kloc(Tway), Manwaring, McCrostie, Miller, Rubel, Smith, Thompson, Toone, Troy, VanOrden, Wintrow and Bedke.