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Senators favor grocery tax elimination over income tax cut

Posted at 5:18 PM, Mar 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-06 19:18:19-05

Some Idaho Senators are bypassing support for a proposed income tax bill in favor of eliminating the state's grocery tax.

On Feb. 2 the Idaho House approved a $51 million tax cut plan. The bill would exempt the first $750 of income from taxation, as well as reduce the top income and corporate rates from 7.4 percent to 7.2 percent.

Under that legislation, Idahoans earning between $38,000 and $59,000 would receive a tax cut averaging about $67. 

"I think it's fair to say that the income tax bill is not very popular in the Senate; it's weighted in favor of the wealthy," Sen. Grant Burgoyne, D-Boise, said. 

Burgoyne and Sen. Cliff Bayer, R-Meridian, say a proposal to eliminate sales tax on groceries would better serve Idaho families. The bill would also eliminate the state's Grocery Tax Credit to make up for lost sales tax revenue. 

"What Sen. Bayer has put forward, which many of us are co-sponsoring, is a bill that will help to benefit everybody," Burgoyne said. 

With only a few weeks left in the session, the legislators are still seeking to secure a hearing for the bill.

"I think we've demonstrated consensus, and many will subscribe to the adage that consensus moves the legislative body," Bayer said. "Packets have been turned in to the House Revenue & Taxation Committee and conversations are being had." 

Bayer says more than 48 legislators from the House and Senate have promised to support the grocery tax legislation.