The governorís State of the State Address the first week of session consisted of what I would describe as the Governorís ďSpend and Spend Some More Plan.Ē
The bottom line was a 9.2-percent increase in new state spending. Our legislative response was to pass House Bill 335 (HB335), a tax relief for businesses on the unemployment taxes they pay. This bill is expected to save around $115 million for employers over the next three years. Many conservative legislators have their sights set on additional legislation offering even more tax relief for all citizens. With an approximate $300 million surplus, there are multiple combinations of a grocery-corporate-individual tax package that could benefit the entire state with tax relief instead of only few select groups.
Every year Idaho passes a tax conformity bill which accepts the Federal IRS adjusted gross income as the same number used on the Idaho state tax form. While this makes figuring your taxes easier for Idaho, it also conforms to other federal rules which sometimes are not related to accounting. (An example is the incorporated same sex marriage ruling that Idaho conformed to, which was in direct violation of our state constitution). This year, the tax conformity bill for Idaho includes President Donald Trumpís large tax cut, but because the reform eliminates the personal and dependent exemptions from the AGI, the annual conformity bill will result in a significant tax increase for Idaho state income taxpayers in their state income tax (upward of a $97.4-million increase!) The federal conformity process will now write this tax increase into Idaho state law. I believe this is another great example of why Idaho lawmakers need to stop inserting federal code and/or international code directly into Idahoís state laws. We donít have to do this and should not just for sake of convenience. When one adds the current tax revenue surplus for the state and now the federal tax conformity increase, Idaho will have about $400 million of overpaid taxes by yearís end. This has all been collected from you, the citizens. The million dollar question before Idaho government is Ö will they give it back or keep it to expand an already expanding government? I believe individuals and families always make better decisions when to saving and spending their earnings rather than allowing the government to make decisions for them.
There have been many draft bills being shared and reviewed between legislators throughout the past two weeks. The process of reviewing and approving thousands of pages of administrative rules, regulations and fess will continue through the next week and then the bills will begin to dominate the committee hearings. A little glimpse on what to expect includes: repeal of the grocery tax; reduction of individual and business income tax, repeal common core as a state mandate, medical waivers, gun restrictions removed, civil asset forfeiture, Article V convention, prolife legislation and many more.
Please visit the Growing Freedom for Idaho website ó GrowingFreedomIdaho.com ó to see a list of all proposed bills and a simple description of how they will affect citizens. It is also a great tool to contact committee members who may control the fate of any given bill or its ability to be voted on by the body.
My continued goal is to represent the 1st Districtís interest in Boise and keep my oath to protect and defend the U.S. and Idaho constitutions. I constantly work to restrain government influence in our lives, reduce taxes, and support legislation that is constitutional, fiscally conservative and morally sound.
Rep. Heather Scott represents Bonner and Boundary counties in the Idaho Legislature in District 1A. She can be reached at email@example.com.