Idaho Women Voters Push for Lower Sales Tax Rate
- Nov 30, 2015 | Gail Cole
If the League of Women Voters of Idaho gets its way, the state sales tax rate would drop from 6% to 5% and sales tax would be expanded to many services. Numerous existing sales tax exemptions would also be eliminated.
The League is launching a ballot initiative — Fair Share Idaho — that it says would raise $424 million more sales tax revenue than the current system. Currently, the state collects approximately $1.5 billion a year in sales tax and exempts more than $2 billion. According to the Fair Share Idaho website, this has led to a serious underfunding of schools.
Fair Share Idaho seeks to:
- Decrease the state sales tax rate from 6% to 5%
- Sunset 22 sales tax special interest exemptions, effective July 1, 2017
- Extend sales tax to 12 currently exempt services
- Business services
- Construction services
- Information services
- Lottery tickets and pari-mutuel betting
- Media measurement services
- Miscellaneous services
- Nonprofit shooting range fees
- Personal services
- Professional services (accounting, legal, etc.)
- Repair services
- Specific social services
- Transportation services
Numerous past attempts to amend the sales tax system have failed and even resulted in more exemptions, not fewer. The measure being proposed by the League of Women Voters is likely to be “a really hard sell,” according to Gary Moncrief, an expert on elections and initiatives and a Boise State University political scientist emeritus. Still, he believes that going directly to voters with an initiative “is a much better way that going to the Legislature.”
In order for the initiative to make the November 2016 ballot, the organization must gather approximately 60,000 signatures of registered voters. Read the Initiative Petition for additional details.
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