Idaho House Speaker introduces tax relief bill

Posted at 10:24 AM, Jan 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 12:24:59-05

BOISE, Idaho  — Speaker of the House Scott Bedke and House Republican Leadership introduced legislation Wednesday that would increase the Grocery Tax Credit for every Idahoan.

A news release from the House Republican Caucus said lawmakers have been receiving calls from constituents all over Idaho, encouraging tax relief.

“This would be real tax relief for every man, woman and child living in the state,” said Bedke. “Families across Idaho need us to do more to limit the strain taxes put on their budgets. That’s exactly what this bill will do.”

Every eligible taxpayer and dependent in the state are currently getting a Grocery Tax Credit of at least $100. The new legislation would increase that amount to $135 -- offsetting the taxes Idahoans pay at the grocery store. “Most importantly, it takes the burden off Idaho families while taxing people who are visiting Idaho or passing through,” the release said.

“By increasing this Idaho tax credit instead of removing sales tax on what the state would determine to be groceries, we avoid creating another layer of bureaucracy by deciding what a ‘grocery’ is,” Bedke explained. “This way, Idahoans determine what a grocery is, rather than the government deciding for them.”

Examples of how the bill would save Idaho families money include:

• Taxpayers will be able to purchase $187.50 of groceries per month free of tax for each eligible credit. This is an annual amount of $2,250 of tax-free groceries per family member.
• The credit is fully refundable, meaning even those without an income tax liability can file a form to get $135 per eligible taxpayer and dependent from the state.
• A simple parent with three children or a married couple with two children will get $750 a month or $9,000 annually in tax free groceries.
• A married couple with three children or a single parent with four children will get $938 per month or $11,250 annually in tax free groceries.

The legislation will increase the amount senior citizens currently get in grocery tax credit by $20.81 and what individuals/dependents currently get by $48.61, bringing each Idahoan to $135 per refundable credit.

Bedke’s bill was approved Wednesday morning in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. It will now be printed and sent to the full House for a vote.