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Idaho House to debate biggest tax cut plan in its history

One of the largest tax reduction measures proposed in Idaho history, designed to offset the Republican tax overhaul, is headed to the House floor for debate.

The $200 million plan reduces tax rates and creates a $130 Idaho child tax credit.

“This bill lowers taxes for everybody that pays taxes in Idaho,” House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, the bill’s sponsor, said Feb. 5. “If you’re paying taxes in Idaho, you benefit by the passage of this bill.”

The plan would align Idaho’s income tax code to recent federal changes in the tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump. The Republican-controlled Legislature is facing increased pressure to pass tax relief this year, with an election in May and taxpayers expected to pay roughly $100 million more next year if the state conforms to the new federal policy.

If approved, all seven of Idaho’s brackets for personal income tax rates and corporate tax rates would be reduced by 0.475 percent. Doing so would lower the state’s general fund by $159.6 million. The child tax credit would slash the fund by $42.3 million.

In total, the plan calls for little more than $200 million in tax relief. With the expected $100 million boost of revenue from the national tax overhaul, the estimated reduction to Idaho’s $3.5 billion general fund would be $104.5 million.

“This bill here is not weak sauce, I think it’s full sauce,” said Rep. Ron Nate, a Republican from Rexburg, who voted in favor of the proposal. “But it could be heartier, it could be more robust. … We can do a lot better.”

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee approved the bill Feb. 5 with just Boise Democratic Reps. Mat Erpelding and John Gannon voting against it.

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