Possible tax increases on table this yearTaxation seems to be a topic of discussion every legislative session, and this session is no different. The one difference for this session is that the governor indicated in his State of the State Address that he was proposing a $45 million tax reduction. He did not specify what the reduction would look like but was leaving that up to the Legislature to come up with some ideas. Tax issues that will or could be brought forward this year include an increase in the cigarette tax that would raise the tax to $1.25 per pack. Cigarette taxes, also called sin taxes, seem to be a topic frequently. Those in favor of such taxes use the argument that cigarettes cause health-related problems that are a cost to society, and the increased tax will help to deter people, particularly youth, from smoking. Those on the opposite side will argue that a tax is a tax, and we should not be raising any taxes, especially targeting a specific item. There are some who might vote in favor of the increased tax if it were specified that the increase in revenue would be used for healthrelated issues and not go into the general fund. The issue of taxing Internet sales is one that has been mentioned again this year. It is not the first time it has been brought up, and depending on any action, may not be the last. The governor has indicated that Internet sales should be taxed, but he has not indicated that he would push the idea. This is an issue that elicits lots of discussion. Local businesses can be hurt because must charge sales tax and online retailers don’t, thus giving the Internet sellers an advantage. Internet sales are increasing each year, thus the state loses sales tax dollars. Some would argue that it would be a new tax, but others would argue that it isn’t, just one that is just not being collected. The Idaho Chamber Alliance supports efforts to collect Internet sales tax. They feel that Idaho businesses are being treated unfairly and the general fund is being adversely affected each year due to non-collection of sales tax on Internet sales. Local option sales tax is again being discussed by local entities. The Idaho Chamber Alliance supports local option sales tax authority for Idaho cities and counties. They feel that local citizens ought to have a voice in revenue generation for economic development and needs of the community. Some may recall a few years ago local option sales tax passed the House but did not make it out of the Senate. That legislation required a two-thirds majority vote to pass. The House has become more conservative since that vote, so I would expect nothing less than a similar piece of legislation, if anything is to make it out of the House. I would also anticipate that it might also be specific on what the revenue could be used for. A piece of legislation was introduced in the House State Affairs Committee that would require a two-thirds vote of both houses to raise taxes and fees. This issue will certainly raise debate, particularly since the temporary sales tax of a few years ago would not have passed under such conditions. This is a bill to watch.
I don't know how many times I've got to say this, but taxes go up when there is a Republican in the driver's seat. Oh, they are sneaky alright, but the taxes always go up. The argument that taxing internet sales is fair because the internet can out bid local companies cause they don't pay taxes is ridiculous. You still pay shipping and the cost of shipping makes the merchandise just about the same cost as local costs. And raising the sales tax? It's always a "temporary" tax, isn't it? Course once you are comfortable paying it, the 'temporary' goes away. At least Democrats are not sneaky. If they want to raise taxes they don't do it by cutting budgets, then raising taxes to make up the difference. That's overt/covert lying.