BOISE, Idaho — A historic tax cut is hurtling through the Idaho legislature, part of Gov. Brad Little's plans for a nearly $2 billion state budget surplus.
HB 436 already passed the House last week and is now headed for the Senate floor. Republican lawmakers overwhelmingly back the proposal, but Democrats say it does not do enough to help the Idahoans who need it the most.
If enacted into law, this house bill would be the largest tax cut in Idaho state history. It would provide $600 million in tax cuts and rebates — including $350 million in one-time rebates and about $251 million in ongoing income tax relief — but Democratic lawmakers say it is not the bill Idahoans need.
“Honestly, there are many ways you can pursue a tax cut of this magnitude but there is almost no way you could do it that would get less money to the people that need it and to the working families of Idaho than house bill 436 does,” House Minority Leader Rep. Ilana Rubel of Boise said. “Once that $600 million is gone, and as we know it will overwhelmingly be gone to benefit the wealthiest, most profitable people in the state, once, that happens, we have lost our opportunity to pursue other much more helpful forms of tax relief.”
Part of their proposal, which you can see below, includes ending the grocery tax, saving consumers $196 million, and $20 million in child credit while also putting more money into funding education and into local communities.
Rubel said at various times - Democratic lawmakers have been shot down on every single one of these proposals, but according to Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking of Boise, it's what constituents want.
“I've had thousands of emails and not a single person has asked for an income tax reduction. They’ve asked for help on their property taxes and for something to be done with the taxes on groceries. That's what’s really hitting them every single day,” Ward-Engelking said.
The bill is now out of committee and heads to the Senate floor for debate.