Hot Topics: School Bonds, E-Cigarettes & Internet Taxes
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Listed below are some of the hot topics being discussed at the capitol. I want to represent what the people of rural Idaho and District 7 think, not the special interests of the Treasure Valley. Take a minute and email me your thoughts on these issues.
School Bond Super Majority: Article 8, Section 3 of the Idaho Constitution requires more than 2/3 of voters to approve a school bond. This week only 3 of 9 bonds across the state passed the 66% threshold. Opponents are frustrated that only Idaho and Tennessee have this super majority requirement. Since 2006 when HB1 created a school funding tax shift, the number of local bonds and levies skyrocketed. This issue comes up annually, yet there hasn’t been enough support to change the constitutional provision. Do you think the problem is with the super majority requirement, or the overall school finance formula?
Taxing Electronic Cigarettes: On Monday, House Democrats will submit a proposal to the House Revenue & Taxation Committee requesting a 15% tax on electronic cigarettes. The use of electronic cigarettes has been creating large revenues for some Idaho business owners. Many people use e-cigarettes to help curb their nicotine addiction, but opponents claim the fad is developing bad habits for youth. Do you think this new industry is worthy of a “sin tax”?
Internet Retailers Tax: H259 addresses a complicated taxing issue that developed after the Supreme Court decision South Dakota vs. Wayfair. It will provide new authority for the state to collect sales tax directly from out-of-state internet retailers. While this change will help Idaho businesses, the bill funnels proceeds into a special Tax Relief Fund instead of the General Fund (from which schools, roads and health care are funded).
The Tax Relief Fund was established several years ago, but it doesn’t have any revenue in it yet. Some think that these funds would create a special savings account to help promote a future grocery tax repeal, but there are currently no restrictions on expenditures from the Tax Relief Fund. You can read more about it from the Idaho Center of Fiscal Policy’s perspective here. Thoughts?
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