Idaho GOP debates plan to spend part of the state’s budget surplus

Republican sources within the statehouse believe strongly that if the bill reaches the Governor’s desk, it would be signed into law
The Idaho GOP presented House Bill 436, a bill to lower the number of tax brackets from five to...
The Idaho GOP presented House Bill 436, a bill to lower the number of tax brackets from five to four(KMVT)
Published: Jan. 14, 2022 at 5:35 PM MST
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BOISE, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Idaho Republicans got right to work this week, presenting House Bill 436, a modification to the tax code that would reduce Idaho’s tax brackets from 5 to 4 and send tax rebate checks to every Idahoan.

“Right now, with the world going the way it is, the high inflation, everything else, we are just trying to get the money back into Idahoan’s pockets.” said bill sponsor Rep. Mike Moyle.

The rebate checks in the bill quickly became an item for debate, which opponents of the bill saying one-time checks, as little as $75, are a quick fix that takes funding away from projects that would have long-term impacts on the financial security of all Idahoans.

“We could put this money into reducing property taxes by better funding the things that locals have to pay for,” said Rep. Lauren Necochea. “From schools to first responders or public defense.”

Not only does Rep. Necochea argue that the bill takes money away from potential projects, but she also adds the way the rebate checks are distributed favor those who have higher income rather than boosting the middle and lower classes.

“If your taxable income was one million dollars in 2020, you get a $7,800 rebate,” Representative Necochea said, “If you have a very modest income, you get $75.”

The checks proposed in the bill pay either $75 or 12% of taxable income, meaning an average-earning Idahoan receives approximately $190, money Representative Moyle says can help Idahoans facing financial stress caused by the pandemic and inflation.

“This bill is a $600 million dollar bill,” Rep. Moyle said. “It puts a lot of money back into the economy and that’s a good thing. It helps people with the increased cost of food, fuel and everything else.”

Representative Necochea tells me she believes the money sent out via checks would take away from projects that could save Idahoans much more on property and grocery tax.

“We have dollars sitting on the bottom line and lots of things we want to invest in,” Rep. Necochea said. “From schools to building a strong middle class.”

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