With more than a few eyes fixed on the exits, Idaho lawmakers are still looking at this Friday as a going-home date for the 2013 Legislature.
As expected, the State Senate voted unanimously Tuesday to offer some tax relief to nearly 90 percent of Idaho businesses—most of them small employers—in the form of a sales tax exemption on computers, tables, chairs and other personal property. The exemption covers new purchases of up to $3,000 and is capped at $100,000 for each of Idaho's counties. The state has agreed to cover the $20 million in annual losses to local governments and schools.
The unanimous Senate vote followed a March 19 vote in the Idaho House, where lawmakers voted 67-2 in favor of the measure, which now heads to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for his signature.
The soon-to-become-law is considered a setback for the powerful Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, which lobbied hard this session to completely eliminate the personal property tax for all Idaho businesses—which would have strapped Idaho counties and municipalities with an estimated $141 million revenue shortfall. IACI lobbyists are expected to come back to the 2014 Legislature with even greater determination to push the tax break.