Gov. Otter has until April 12th to either sign, veto, or let the grocery tax bill go into law without his signature.
In the final days of the legislative session and after immense public pressure, both houses passed H67, a bill to repeal the sales tax on groceries. It passed 51-19 in the House and 25-10 in the Senate. The bill now awaits Otter’s signature. He has said publicly he does not support the grocery tax bill, so we need to let him know now that it’s ok to do the right thing and not tax working Idaho families for food.
According to the Federation of Tax Administrators, only 13 states tax groceries. All of Idaho’s bordering states, except for Utah, have no grocery tax.
Exempting groceries from the state sales tax is a progressive policy, and would increase access and affordability of food for all Idahoans. It would also remove a competitive disadvantage for Idaho communities at our borders, as many Idahoans in border communities cross state lines every day to purchase food tax-free.
It’s true that the sales tax on food makes an important contribution to the state budget, but a fairer tax system would not rely on funding state operations by taxing a basic need like food. The bill wouldn’t actually go into effect until June 2018, so if it goes into law, lawmakers will have between now and the end of the 2018 legislative session to figure out how to make up any lost revenue.
Taxing groceries is regressive, and it places a significantly higher burden on low-income Idahoans. This bill is a good thing, and we hope it becomes law.
The grocery tax bill, H67, is sitting on Governor Otter’s desk. He has until April 12 to either sign, veto, or let the bill go into law without his signature.