Idaho House Speaker Bedke retreats on grocery tax shift

January 29, 2014 

A week after floating the idea to lower top corporate and personal income tax rates by killing the annual $80 grocery tax credit for middle- and high-income Idahoans, House Speaker Scott Bedke has dropped the bill.

In a report Wednesday by Kimberlee Kruesi of the Twin Falls Times-News, Bedke says he won't introduce the measure this week, as he had previously intended.

“The one thing that drives me is the mantra is first, do no harm,” Bedke told Kruesi. “I certainly don’t want your taxes to go up for having done this.”

In his effort to lower the top income tax rates from 7.4 percent to 6.95 percent, Bedke proposed taking $70 million to $80 million from the grocery tax credit to pay for it.

Bedke met Monday with former chief state economist Mike Ferguson, who says Bedke's idea would mean higher taxes for families of four earning between $32,500 and $117,500, while households earning more than $117,50 would see their taxes drop.

Bedke told the Times-News that his trial balloon “had the desired woodwork effect.”

“We’re talking about it and we’re questioning the policy we want to use moving forward," he said.

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