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Boise Chamber pushes for cut in corporate income tax rate

The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is urging Idaho lawmakers to cut the corporate income tax rate to boost the state’s business environment.

Bill Connors, president and CEO, said the tax rate on businesses is making Idaho uncompetitive.

“If the state does not do anything to attract or retain or expand business here, we’re going to get further and further behind other competing states, because we have some neighbors that are very aggressive out there, like Utah and some of our surrounding states, so we need to be equally aggressive,” he said. “We want to tell prospective companies out there that are looking at us, in the year 2020 we’re going to be down there lower than everybody else.”

Idaho’s 7.6 percent corporate income tax rate compares to 5 percent in Utah, 6.75 percent in Montana and between 6.6 percent and 7.9 percent in Oregon, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation.

Wyoming, Nevada and Washington do not have corporate income taxes, though Washington has a business and occupation tax, while Wyoming banks on extraction of natural resources and Nevada relies on revenue from gaming and sales taxes.

Connors said the chamber would like to see the Legislature phase in a cut starting in 2012.

The chamber wants other legislation this session to boost the business environment, such as the elimination of the personal property tax. Other possible measures include a venture capital tax credit, a rebate for new hires and proposals to help business startups.

Connors said any tax cuts cannot come at the expense of public education and higher ed, though.

“You’ve got to strike a balance between affecting state revenue and important state programs like education,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’ll probably be very vocal if we get to the point where investment in education makes us less competitive than our surrounding states.”

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