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Eye On Boise

House Rev & Tax introduces ‘17 conformity bill, sends unemployment tax cut to full House

The House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted unanimously his morning to introduce a federal tax conformity bill, but it only covers 2017 – the big issues with the new federal tax bill will come up in the 2018 tax conformity bill, which lawmakers are likely to take up yet this session. After that, the committee moved on to its hearing on HB 335, the bill to cut the unemployment insurance tax for Idaho employers. All testimony was strongly in favor of the change; when it concluded. Rep. Jeff Thompson, R-Idaho Falls, moved to send the bill to the full House with a recommendation that it “do pass,” and the motion passed unanimously.

The change, which would save Idaho employers $115 million over the next three years, was proposed last year and widely supported, but it got killed in the cross-fire between the House and Senate over other tax cuts. Due to a robust and growing reserve fund, the bill cuts the divisor that determines the base rates for unemployment insurance tax from 1.5 to 1.3. There’s no cost to the state general fund.

“Idaho has one of the higher ones in the nation right now,” House Majority Leader Mike Moyle told the committee. “I think it will be a benefit to everyone to do this.”

Among those speaking in favor of the bill were Alex LaBeau of IACI; John Watts of the Idaho Chamber Alliance; and Melinda Smyser, director of the Idaho Department of Labor.

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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