Exit Strategy: Idaho Legislature Wrangling With Grocery, Gas Taxes and 'Surplus Eliminator'


As one of it final efforts of the Idaho Legislature's 2015 session, the Idaho House voted 68-1 Thursday to approve House Bill 330, increasing the state's food tax credit by $10 per eligible citizen, resulting in a $13.8 million impact to the General Fund. Burley Republican Rep. Fred Wood was the only House member to vote against the measure. 

The current credit of $120 for seniors and $100 for everyone else would be bumped up immediately if it finds approval from the Idaho Senate and Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Meanwhile, a conference committee consisting of select members of the House and Senate, is spending the better part of Thursday wrangling a transportation funding bill, including a number of puzzle pieces such as higher vehicle registration fees, increased fees for electric and hybrid vehicles, and a possible increase in gasoline tax. Additionally, lawmakers are considering a so-called "surplus eliminator," proposed by Nampa Republican Rep. John Vander Woude, which would split unanticipated state revenue surpluses between transportation needs and the state's rainy day account.