Senate Committee Passes Tax Relief for State's Upper Tier

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Following a robust morning debate before the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee, lawmakers voted 6-3 to approve House Bill 563, a $35.7 million income tax cut for Idaho's top earners - including single individuals who make more than $36,000 a year. For a married couple with no dependents, it would be $72,520. Approximately 17 percent of those who file income tax returns could benefit.

David Hensley, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's chief of staff, told the committee that Otter supported cutting taxes on Idaho's top tier to stimulate job growth.

"Tax relief is a first step," said Hensley.

But Boise Democratic Sen. Elliot Werk wasn't so certain.

"I haven't seen anything that indicates there would be a single job created," said Werk.

Ultimately, one Republican, Mountain Home Sen. Tim Corder, the chairman of the committee, joined Democratic Sens. Werk and Diane Bilyeu in voting "no." All of Corder's GOP colleagues supported the measure and sent it to the full Senate for consideration. The bill has already passed through the House.