Idaho ranks 10th in nation for members of Romney's 47 percent
Many not paying federal income taxes still plan to vote Republican
Pat Flavel and her husband Marv collect Social Security and raise show-cows on five acres in Kuna. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
Pat Flavel and her husband Marv collect Social Security and raise show-cows on five acres in Kuna.
“If we need extra money,” 74-year-old Pat said, “we sell a cow.”
The Flavels vote Republican, believe in hard work and generally try to avoid the government.
“We basically take care of ourselves,” Pat said.
But – because of a lack of taxable income – the Flavels likely join Mitt Romney’s estimated 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes.
A hidden camera famously captured Romney telling a room of big spenders that 47 percent supported the president, depended on the government, and both believed they were victims and the government had a responsibility to care for them.
While technically members of the 47 percent, the Flavels don’t fit that description.
“We don’t go to the state of Idaho and say: ‘Look, we make X-amount of dollars. We have X-amount of bills. We need money from you to help us survive,’” Pat said.
Research from the Tax Policy Center shows Idaho actually ranks in the top-ten states for percentage of non-payers among tax-filers. But Idaho last voted for a Democratic president in 1964 and in 2012 Romney should win the Gem State with ease.
“I can’t see why he wouldn’t win by more than anybody I can think of,” College of Idaho Political Science Professor Jasper LiCalzi said.
So, how can so many Idaho Republicans rank in the 47 percent Romney believes to support President Obama?
“Idaho is a very low-cost-of-living state,” certified public accountant at Dille & Associates Val Dille said, “and I believe we have more children per capita compared with other states.”
Two major tax exemptions reflecting those traits likely led to Idaho’s high percentage of non-payers: the earned income tax credit and the child credit.
“It doesn’t mean they’re freeloaders,” Dille said. “It means they’re taking advantage of what the law gives them.”
“What’s interesting is they’re exemptions that Romney or other Republicans would support,” LiCalzi said.
Whether Romney meant it as he said it, only hoped to woo a crowd eating $10K dinners or didn’t understand the stat, Idaho's proved him wrong about at least one part of his hidden-camera statement: those 47-percenters not voting for him.
“We've had a lousy four years,” Pat said.