Taxes are a major focus in Boise this legislative session, and Gov. Little says it could hold things up
Deanne Coffin, KPVI & Rett Nelson, EastIdahoNews.com
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BOISE (KPVI) – Idaho lawmakers are about nine weeks into the legislative session.
KPVI’s Deanne Coffin met with Gov. Brad Little and Sen. Mark Nye (D) representing District 29 in Pocatello over the weekend to get some of the latest updates.
Little says the legislative session is running smoothly so far, but there are a few things that could hold it up, such as sales tax on groceries and property taxes.
The governor says he would like to see taxes taken off of groceries.
“We just give people a tax credit, which is simpler and there’s less audit, but I think we ought to take it off, but I’d like to see a real hard definition about what groceries are,” says Little.
Some lawmakers have argued putting a freeze on property taxes would allow legislatures and government officials to come together and find a solution to Idaho’s rising property taxes. But Little says it could cause taxes to increase.
“It depends on what your piece of property, whether it’s your home or a farm or a commercial piece of property, what it does relative to everything else,” he says. “The freeze is on how much money local government will go in, but it could still mean that people’s property taxes will go up.”
Instead of leading to lower taxes, as some legislatures have said, Nye says it might actually lead to even higher taxes the following year.
“That’s a double whammy, because the year after, you might end up paying a lot more, two years worth and the focus is on ‘let’s cut spending on the local level’ rather than ‘let’s share more of the state revenues’ — like we have a half of a billion dollars we’re stocking away,” Nye says.
Thirty of the 429 bills that have been introduced in both houses have already been signed by the governor.
“I get them. I read them and we get them out of there. We’re waiting for more bills,” Little says.
Little says he’s proud of what they’ve been doing so far.
“The help I’ve had from the legislators, the help I’ve had from the superintendents, the teachers on really moving the needle on education, improving and modernizing our education and I’m very excited about it,” he says.
Idaho lawmakers say they hope to have this legislative session wrapped up by the end of March.
This article was originally published by KPVI. It is used here with permission.