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Historic surplus? Idaho Republicans want another historic tax cut

Image of the Idaho Statehouse.
Samantha Wright
Boise State Public Radio
Idaho Statehouse

As promised, House Republicans have introduced a massive tax cut and rebate bill as their first proposal of the year.

The plan would retroactively drop the top personal income tax and corporate income tax rates to 6% beginning January 2022. It would also give a rebate to state taxpayers equal to 12% of their 2020 taxes, or $75 per person, whichever is greater.

“Money is available that ought to be returned to the taxpayers also. If I consider who spends money wisest, I’m going to pick on the person who earned it,” said Rep. Steven Harris (R-Meridian), who sponsors the bill.

Idaho is projected to net a $1.9 billion surplus this year, which Gov. Brad Little also wants to spend on infrastructure improvements and paying down debt, among other priorities.

The rebate proposal would cost $350 million, while the income tax cuts add up to more than $1.1 billion over the next four years.

House Assistant Minority Leader Lauren Necochea (D-Boise) said the money could be better spent to offset high property taxes or repeal the grocery tax.

“This is just not the tax relief that I think Idahoans want,” Necochea said.

Democrats have also argued that surplus should better fund schools, as Idaho routinely ranks among the states spending the lowest amounts per student in the country.

Harris countered taxpayers could direct that money to several state funds instead of keeping it.

“Folks may choose to donate this to public schools, transportation, parks and rec,” he said.

Under the income tax portion of the bill, the number of brackets is further squished from five to four. Idaho’s top earners are considered those making more than $5,000 annually.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!