The Idaho Senate rebuffed its Republican leader and scrapped a proposed income tax cut Friday, replacing it wholesale with a repeal of the sales tax on groceries — a move that, until the Senate’s revision, had sizable support in both houses but no bill to show for it.
The amended bill still needs the vote of the full Senate and, if approved there, would be sent back the House for a vote to concur. The House passed its tax cut bill in early February.
That original bill proposed reductions in the corporate income tax and top personal income tax rate, from 7.4 percent to 7.2 percent, as well a $750 exemption on all personal income.
On the Senate floor Thursday, Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg, proposed changing that bill to reduce all seven of the state’s income tax brackets and the corporate tax by one-tenth of a point.
Hill’s amendment also included a reduction in the unemployment tax paid by businesses, a move sought by Gov. Butch Otter.
A competing amendment offered by Sen. Clifford Bayer, R-Meridian, entirely replaced the income tax cut with the grocery tax repeal. Passage of one would cancel out the other. Hill’s failed, then Bayer’s was adopted.
The rival measures caused confusion on the Senate floor as they were debated, prompting several recesses while members sought clarification on procedure for voting on them.