Idaho’s Grocery Tax Remains for Now
I’m somewhat agnostic on the grocery tax. I don’t like paying taxes on food. Really, I don’t know any sane Idahoan who likes paying any taxes, however. I do like police and fire protection. Paved roads. State Parks (and I’m clearly not alone on that one, the parks are overflowing).
The legislators from North Idaho who most strongly support its repeal make a good case. They represent many constituents who struggle to get by.
The question then becomes, how do we fund the things I like? Government doesn’t make much money on its own. It’s possible the furniture made by prison inmates offsets some costs but it can’t be sold commercially. The state doesn’t want to compete with businesses, which when left to perform in the free market, generate even more tax revenue.
For poorer families the grocery tax is more of a burden. The legislators from North Idaho who most strongly support its repeal make a good case. They represent many constituents who struggle to get by. This is the story in various rural pockets across the state and even on the margins of some cities. I usually claim the grocery credit on my taxes but it still isn’t much of a rebate.
There is a proposal from one state legislator and it would nearly double state sales tax and eliminate property tax. Could we then increase sales tax even more on non-food items and altogether eliminate the extra charge on groceries? I cite these as options and not as endorsements. Can we raise the grocery tax on Dorito’s and beer and exempt bread and vegetables?
One thing I’m learning this legislative session and it’s clear we aren’t going to see any serious cuts in government spending anytime soon.
Roads still need a lot of maintenance. Schools and teachers are pleading for more. We may also need more staffing for law enforcement and state parks. Because our population is growing. Unless you’re a strict libertarian, most people like visiting the parks. We could sell the land to the Wilks brothers but then we’d have a whole new group of raging constituents.