Local option taxes hurt families

Fred Birnbaum Articles

 

Idaho lawmakers just rolled into town and, just days into their work, they’re already floating all sorts of ideas to raise taxes.

Idahoans have just begun to enjoy lower prices at the pump and already the notion gas taxes should be raised is ringing in their ears.

We can also be sure that localities, like Boise, will push for an expansion of the local “option” to raise the sales tax. Let’s be clear: Boise’s mayor (and others as well) do not simply want the option to raise the sales tax; given the chance, local officials will act on it.

Taken together a gas tax hike and a local sales tax increase would be a one-two punch for families because it is difficult to avoid purchasing necessities like fuel, food and clothing. Taken alone, the local option to raise sales taxes is a bad idea.

Idaho’s families already face higher sales taxes on non-food items than folks in Montana and Oregon which have no sales tax, and Wyoming, which boasts lower sales tax. Idaho already applies the full general sales tax to food, unlike any neighboring state.

Progressives who decry regressive taxation should be the first to speak out against higher fuel and sales taxes. Fairness should trump simply shoveling more revenue into the government’s pocket.

Let’s not compound poor tax policy by taking a general sales tax, that taxes food, and making it even higher. It is time to put families’ needs first.