Gov. Otter has been criticized by some for his veto on the bill to repeal the Idaho grocery tax. In my opinion, these folks might be a little shortsighted.
The governor vetoed the bill even though he knew he would receive some flak. Isn’t it possible that he thought out what the consequences would be if he signed the bill? Where would the replacement money for the grocery tax come from? You’re right, it would come from the Idaho taxpayers in some other way, shape or form.
Possibly the proponents of eliminating the grocery tax would want to legalize and tax marijuana sales. If there were a few more backbones in the Legislature (or less lobbyist) they could pass a bill requiring sales tax on online purchases. This might even help local businesses to survive.
Currently we get a tax credit of $100 for each exemption. Therefore, a family of four gets their grocery tax refunded on the first $6,600 spent on groceries each year.
Think of the revenue Idaho would lose from out–of-state hunters, fishermen, tourists, and those who own or rent properties in our resort areas (Sun Valley, Island Park, McCall, Salmon River, Coeur d’Alene, Sandpoint, etc.). As an example, look at the Utah vehicles in Island Park. Go into a store in these resort areas and you will see these visitors buying a lot of groceries. Do we really want to give them a tax freebie at our expense? If we do, the resident taxpayer will not only have to make up for our lost grocery tax, but also the tax paid by out-of-state visitors.
Maybe, just maybe the Legislature didn’t do their homework quite as well as the governor did. Isn’t that a possibility?