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Grocery tax repeal gains major allies

Grocery tax repeal gains major allies

Idaho Freedom Foundation staff
February 7, 2017

The idea of repealing Idaho’s tax on groceries gained a number of vocal allies this past week, including two Idaho newspapers.

The Twin Falls Times-News, Coeur d’Alene Press and the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils all endorsed an end to Idaho’s six percent tax on groceries.

All three spoke out as House members considered -- and eventually passed -- legislation to cut income taxes by $51 million a year.

IFF has led the charge on this issue, and has urged lawmakers for years to repeal this tax.

On Sunday, the Twin Falls Times-News endorsed grocery tax repeal as an avenue to help lower-income residents. Here’s the newspaper’s editorial take:

If lawmakers really wanted to help Idahoans, they’d remove the 6 percent sales tax on groceries. Under the current system, taxpayers can get a small rebate on their returns, but 31 percent of Idahoans don’t file a state return, meaning lower-income Idahoans are hit the hardest.

Read the rest of the Times-News’ editorial here.

On Feb. 1, the Coeur d’Alene Press criticized the grocery tax, which is at least partially rebated back to Idahoans at tax filing time, as making little sense. The Press notes:  

Hoffman correctly points out that eliminating the regressive tax would instantly help many Idahoans struggling financially. He notes that Idaho’s system of requiring people to file for grocery tax credits actually costs the state about $1 million simply to process all that paperwork. And for what? This tax is collected and held until people file forms to get their small share of it back. It does nothing to help our schools, our infrastructure or anything else of societal value.

Read the full Coeur d’Alene Press editorial here.

Breland Draper, Staff Director of the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils, endorsed a grocery tax repeal in her Feb. 2 opinion piece published by the Idaho Press Tribune. Draper lauded repeal as good for families and businesses alike. She wrote:

We believe that exempting groceries from the state’s sales tax will increase access and affordability to food for all Idahoans, increase profits for our local farmers and food producers, and remove a competitive disadvantage for Idaho communities at our borders.

Read the rest of Draper’s column here.

The Idaho Press Tribune endorsed the idea as recently as 2014. Read the paper’s repeal stance here.

It’s unclear if legislators will lend an ear to the growing chorus that calls for eliminating the grocery tax. Regardless, IFF believes repeal is just good, sensible policy.

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