A bill working its way through the Idaho Legislature that would grant tax-exempt status to the Girl Scouts' food program has been broadened to include the Boy Scouts.
The measure, introduced Feb. 8 in the House Revenue and Tax Committee, was sponsored by Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Janet Trujillo, who said the benefits of the scouts' programs outweigh the tax revenue to the state.
A similar bill introduced in 2013 was blocked by senators who felt there were already too many tax-exempt groups. This time around, the bill features Sen. Clifford Bayer (R-Meridian), House Majority Leader Mike Moyle (Star) and Republican Reps. Scott Bedke (Oakley) and Jeff Thompson (Idaho Falls) as co-sponsors.
“Unfortunately, this is the type of system that’s been created in Idaho,” Trujillo said. “Because we don’t have the political will to change that system, I think all we’re doing is hurting these particular groups.”
“Rather than exclude one or the other, I think it’s beneficial to put it in,” Trujillo said.
Should the bill pass, $210,000 in scout-generated sales tax revenue would leave the state's tax rolls. Trujillo said community-based programs—such as the Girls Beyond Bars program, which offers life skills and counseling to young women in prison—would in the long run offset the loss of tax revenue.
“I think we’re going to have a little bit of fun trying to get it though the Senate, but I’m hopeful,” Trujillo said.
Idaho and Hawaii are the only states that don’t offer tax exemption to Girl Scout and Boy Scout food programs.