Siddoway: no tax cut until schools are funded

Posted at 5:39 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 19:41:22-05

The leadership in the House quickly passed a controversial tax cut for the richest in Idaho, but a Senate chairman says that bill goes nowhere until Idaho schools get the funding they need.

Senator Jeff Siddoway has a pretty easy-going demeanor. However, as chair of the local government and taxation committee, he's drawing a hard line in the sand.

"I made the commitment that there were not going to be any more tax breaks until we had our education funded, and funded properly," said Siddowat, R-Terrton.

The tax cut he's referring to is House Bill 380, a measure from House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, R-Star, which cuts the income tax for top earners and gives an extra ten bucks to the grocery tax credit. Siddoway has held that bill in his drawer for three weeks and might keep it there for a while.

He's waiting on JFAC to finalize its budget. He's concerned not only for education funding but the possibility of an economic downturn.

"A lot of people involved in the budgeting process want to make sure there's a pretty good sum of money left over at the end of the year we can use to carry forward," said Siddoway.

Another expense looming in the background is a plan to give medical coverage to Idaho's gap population. Siddoway thinks the session won't end without a new bill coming forward and that would spell doom for Moyle's tax cut.

"If that resurrection were to come and there is a need for funding then I think that probably eats up any opportunity we have for tax relief this year," he said.