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Regional News

ID Senate Committee Moves Tax Relief Bill Forward

idaho_state_capitol.state_of_idaho.jpg
Courtesy of State of Idaho
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An Idaho legislative committee has moved a big tax relief bill to the full Senate.

The Local Government and Taxation Committee approved a two-part proposal Thursday.Its author, Meridian Republican Representative Steven Harris, says the plan has two parts. One would give a one-time rebate to taxpayers: $50 per person or 9% of the amount a person paid in state income tax the previous year, whichever is greater.

“We took too much of your money. We’re giving some of it back to you. That’s the flavor. In our way of thinking, this was the most straightforward, up-and-up way of doing that," he said.

Harris estimates the rebate would cost the state $220 million.

The second provision would lower the state income tax rate in each of the tax brackets. In the highest bracket, the rate would decrease from about 6.9% to 6.5%.

Critics, such as Kathy Dawes from Moscow, representing the League of Women Voters, says  the state should instead look at spending for underfunded programs, rather than giving money back.

“Cutting income taxes and providing rebates is not appropriate at a time when the legislature has not met its constitutional duty to fund schools properly and when Idahoans are having to leave their homes because they cannot pay their property taxes," she said.

Harris’s proposal has already passed the House on a 58-to-12 party-line vote.