The fight to repeal Idaho’s grocery tax won a huge endorsement this week, another sign the time is right for lawmakers to consider the proposal.
The Coeur d’Alene Press, which serves several towns in North Idaho, endorsed full repeal of the grocery tax as a way to empower individuals by allowing them to decide how to spend their dollars.
“True, the state already offers residents a $100 annual grocery tax credit - $120 for the elderly - but everyone still must fork over that extra 6 percent on every grocery store food purchase, then wait for the state to pay them back once a year,” the paper wrote.
We agree. But there’s more.
“There's also something odious about government charging a substantial tax on groceries; a tax on one of life's essentials that is the exact same whether you're a multi-millionaire or a family struggling to get by,” the paper added.
There it is. This is a moral issue and repeal rises as the obvious and common-sense solution here. That it cuts government waste — 65,000 Idahoans file income tax returns just to get their grocery tax dollars back from the state — is a very nice bonus.
The Coeur d’Alene Press also touched on an incredibly important point in this debate: Republicans and Democrats alike can fall deeply in love with taking 6 percent off the cost of milk, eggs, cheese and other necessities.
“Even if their reasons differ, many Idaho Republicans and Democrats favor eliminating the grocery sales tax,” the paper explained. “That's as powerful an indication of good, fair legislation as you can find.”
While that sentiment isn’t true with every public policy, of course, it certainly applies in the Statehouse in 2015.
While the paper can’t represent the opinion of an entire community, signs point to more agreement on this issue than one might expect. “I'm not aware of a single Democrat who would support keeping the sales tax on food,” wrote a commenter, a former Democratic elected official, on the Huckleberries Online blog, a meeting place for North Idaho’s political discussion.
So thanks, Coeur d’Alene Press, for affirming what we already knew. “The tax credit isn't bad,” the paper concluded. “Eliminating the tax is just better.”