It’s time to end Idaho’s sales tax on food, joining 37 other states. Last year the Legislature passed a bill to do it, reflecting the majority opinion in Idaho. But Governor Otter vetoed it.
The sensible first step this year is to hold a committee hearing, so legislators and citizens can readdress the issue in light of the veto. But House Speaker Bedke and Revenue and Taxation Chairman Collins have so far refused a hearing. This is wrong.
Working families bear the unfairness here. Ending this tax would immediately boost their buying power at check-out lines. It would also stop penalizing grocery stores in Idaho’s 25 border counties. Five of our neighbors don’t have this tax, so Idaho dollars cross the border rather that support Idaho stores.
From Governor Otter down, I hear that Idaho needs to “thoroughly review” its tax system. I think this is another way of saying “never.” If Idaho wants to review the unfairness, counterproductive design and long-term instability of our tax system, the sales tax on food is a place to start. Please, Speaker Bedke and Chairman Collins, allow a hearing on a tax change the majority of your colleagues support.
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Julia Page, Boise