Letters to the Editor

Birnbaum letter: Grocery tax

Rep. Mat Erpelding blew his chance to write a bipartisan opinion piece on Gov. Butch Otter’s recent veto of the bill to remove the sales tax on groceries. Though more than 70 percent of the Legislature — Republicans and Democrats — supported the bill, you would not know that from reading Erpelding’s opinion piece.

Erpelding stated, “The Democratic leaders in the Senate were instrumental in amending this harmful tax bill into the grocery tax repeal.”

Wrong. Sen. Clifford Bayer, a Republican from Meridian, worked tirelessly to both craft the amendments and garner the original 16 Senate and 31 House co-sponsors — Erpelding was not among the original co-sponsors.

Erpelding also states, “Faced with no choice but to vote in favor of it, House Republicans passed the amended bill, which Gov. Otter ultimately vetoed.”

Wrong again. Only 36 percent of the House Democratic caucus supported the bill, but 80 percent of the House Republican caucus did.

It’s worth noting that zero Democrats requested to join the lawsuit to challenge Otter’s veto.

Erpelding’s guest opinion piece relating to the grocery tax bill is a pure work of fiction and does a great disservice to those who have worked for years to pass this legislation.

Fred Birnbaum, vice president, Idaho Freedom Foundation