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Regional News

Supporters of grocery tax repeal in Idaho say they're being ignored

Idaho State House of Representatives
Courtesy of Idaho state legislature
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Idaho House members on Friday debated whether a grocery tax repeal bill should be rerouted around committees straight to the floor.

Their bill has been printed, but isn't receiving hearings.

Idaho lawmakers are considering options for cutting taxes. They’ve approved a state income tax rebate and cuts in income tax rates. But a repeal of the state food tax appears to be off the table.

Supporters of the plan complain legislative leaders won’t even consider the proposal.

Several House Republicans, led by Rep. Ron Nate from Rexburg, and some Democrats argue repealing Idaho’s 6% sales tax on groceries would be the most effective form of tax relief for most Idahoans. Legislative leaders haven’t allowed the bill to be debated in committee.

Supporters have tried an alternate route by bringing the bill directly to the floor.

They’ve been stymied there too. On Friday, they again asked their colleagues to pull House Bill 448 from committee. That sparked an hour-long debate that included complaints about legislative tradition and why the House’s main bill-sorting committee, led by Paul Amador from Coeur d’Alene, hasn’t yet met this session.

Lawmakers who are tired of this issue argued supporters of the food tax repeal should get the hint, the majority of lawmakers aren’t interested in considering it. They voted 54-11 to again excuse the House Ways and Means Committee from meeting, essentially keeping the proposal locked in the chairman’s drawer.