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House Bill 390 — Tax commission, income

House Bill 390 — Tax commission, income

Parrish Miller
May 4, 2021

Bill Description: House Bill 390 would exempt from state income taxes federal money given to people to pay rent. The bill would also give the state tax commission more authority to review decisions made by the chairman or staff of the commission.

Rating: -1

Analyst Note: House Bill 390 takes another run at reforming the state tax commission, an effort first undertaken with House Bill 214, which was vetoed by the Governor. 

Does it increase government redistribution of wealth? Examples include the use of tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, businesses, politicians, or government employees with special favors or perks; transfer payments; and hiring additional government employees. Conversely, does it decrease government redistribution of wealth?

House Bill 390 amends Section 63-3022 to say that federal rental assistance funds "provided directly to a member of an eligible household for the purpose of making payments to a lessor or utility provider are not required to be added back to taxable income." 

This bill uses targeted tax policy to reward those who accepted money from the federal government in lieu of going to work and earning it themselves. Why should Idahoans who earned their money be taxed on it while Idahoans who took handouts funded through taxation and debt be allowed to write off their unearned income? 


Does it in any way restrict public access to information related to government activity or otherwise compromise government transparency or accountability? Conversely, does it increase public access to information related to government activity or increase government transparency or accountability?

We did not rate House Bill 214, and, for the sake of consistency, we will not rate the similar proposal contained in House Bill 390. With that said, there is an argument to be made that allowing the actions of the chairman or state tax commission staff to be reviewed by the state tax commission upon the request of a commissioner and thereby requiring an "affirmative vote of a majority of the state tax commission" to be sustained does have the potential to increase transparency and accountability. 


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