Idaho House Speaker Proposes Tax Cut, Shift

Jan 22, 2014

Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke was elected to his leadership post in Dec. 2012.
Credit StateImpact Idaho

This story was updated at 2:15 p.m.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter would consider a proposal from House Speaker Scott Bedke to shift money from a popular grocery tax credit to individual and corporate income tax cuts.

"Convince me," Otter told The Associated Press Wednesday, on how he's approaching Bedke's proposal.

Idaho residents now claim the grocery credit, worth up to $100 for each person in a household, or $120 for those over 65.

However, Bedke would limit beneficiaries to low-income residents and redirect $70 million to $80 million in savings to cutting Idaho's tax rate to 6.95 percent, from 7.4 percent.

He says it would spur business.

Otter championed increasing the credit since 2008 to offset sales tax paid on food, but now says he's willing to entertain redirecting the money, for tax relief or education funding.

Original Post

House Speaker Scott Bedke wants lawmakers to consider limiting beneficiaries of Idaho's grocery tax credit to low-income people and shifting millions toward individual and corporate income tax cuts.

Bedke, an Oakley Republican, made the suggestion at a luncheon in Boise sponsored by the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University.

Idaho's current income tax rate is 7.4 percent.

That's something Bedke thinks might discourage businesses from relocating here, when they compare that to tax rates of surrounding states.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Bedke's proposal would means-test recipients of the grocery tax credit that's currently worth about $133.5 million annually and goes to nearly all Idaho residents.

His idea: Shift the resulting $70 million to $80 million in savings to income tax cuts, making Idaho more attractive to business.

The Idaho Legislature has cut taxes during the last two legislative sessions.