Any tax increase is distasteful to most Idahoans, but the shift of school maintenance and operations from the property tax to the sales tax seems fair. What remains is an argument about sales tax on groceries. Idaho is one of only a few states that continue to charge sales tax on everyday food items. Both Governor Risch and Governor-Elect Butch Otter have proposed their own method for softening that blow.
Risch would like to gradually phase out the sales tax on groceries by reducing it by 1% a year over the next 6 years to minimize the impact on the general fund. Otter would like to reduce or eliminate sales tax on groceries only for the lower income. His exact proposal is still forthcoming.
But Governor Risch completes his short term in January, 2007, and returns to the office of Lieutenant Governor, so will not have any real impact on the solution. Otter, on the other hand, assumes the office in January, 2007, so will have something to say about the solution. Weâ€™ll all stay tuned for the interesting discussion in the 2007 Idaho legislative session.