Last year the Idaho legislature spent an enormous amount of time and effort in passing a repeal of the Grocery Tax in Idaho. After passing in the Senate, the bill passed by a large margin in the House at 51-19. Proponents of the bill say that it will be fairer to Idaho families. Opponents of the bill make sure to mention that the bill takes away the income tax credit of up to $100 per person that individuals get on their Idaho State taxes each year. That makes it an economic wash for most folks, or at least only a modest benefit if you do the math. For folks that pay no state income tax, they could be worse off- since they would lose the tax credit they would otherwise get.

On principle, any repeal of the tax would be welcomed as 51 members of the house representatives voted to repeal it.

After the bill passed, most of the press focused on the veto by Governor Otter. He messed up a bit on his timing and was taken to court by several lawmakers and proponents. Eventually, the court upheld the veto with some caveats.

The tax reduction effort in 2017 actually started as an income tax bill in the House and then was morphed into a grocery tax repeal in the Senate. As that gained momentum, lawmakers clamored for a chance to get their name on a popular conservative bill.

Ron Nate Rexburg
Representative Ron Nate (R) Rexburg, Idaho

The question now becomes, what will lawmakers do in 2018? If you listen to Representative Ron Nate in Rexburg, ID, he has his mind made up:

“The first priority of the 2018 session should be passing the grocery tax repeal,” he said. “We passed it with supermajority in the 2017 session, so it should be a no-brainer in the 2018 session. I dare the governor to try and veto a bill in the middle of the session when it’s such a popular bill.”

Perhaps other ideas come out before the session on other income tax or related areas that may steal the momentum from the Grocery Tax Repeal effort. Let’s hope the Idaho State Legislators stay focused on this and other important conservative issues. It will be an interesting November and December as folks stay tuned.

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