(Or Dump our Governor and Legislative leaders in 2022)
Let me start off with an explanation of Regressive taxes. These are taxes that place more burden on low-income earners. Since they are flat taxes, they take a higher percentage of income on the poor than on high-income earners. Taxes on most consumer goods, sales, gas, and Social Security payroll are examples of regressive taxes.
Let me give you a real-life example. I used to bring food to my grandmother who was on social security every week. The reason I did that is one day when I was visiting, I looked in her pantry and saw a dozen cans of dog food sitting on the shelf. She didn’t have a dog. She was eating the dog food because she couldn’t afford to buy the food she needed because she didn’t have enough income to pay her rent and buy food for proper nutrition. So when I hear someone say, “I get no benefit from the repeal of this grocery tax,” I ask them to think about those less fortunate. They may be eating a big, juicy steak today, but just remember, ‘but for the grace of God go I.’
We have been talking about the grocery tax repeal idea for a little more than four years, yet our RINO legislators are still fighting to keep this regressive tax, that’s hurting those in the lowest income brackets, on the books. My question to them is, why don’t the leaders in our legislature care about the hard-working, low-income people in our state? I’m not sure why they are being so stubborn about dumping this tax, but you can bet they are protecting someone or something that is putting pressure on them to keep this tax in place.
I stood side by side with Mike Moyle 5 years ago arguing against this egregious tax in the senate committee hearing. This was the first argument for tax relief on groceries in the legislature championed and proposed by Mike. Why do you think he has changed his mind on this matter? I will tell you there are powerful lobbyists who do not want this tax touched, and it is a mystery to me since the amount of revenue brought in by this tax is really insignificant when you look at our entire state budget.
If you’re buying their argument that you get more tax relief from a drop in the sales tax to 5.3% than from eliminating the grocery tax, you’re right… but who benefits from this cut? It is those who spend lots of money on things other than food. As I have said, they don’t seem to care about those living on the edge where most of their income is spent on food for their families. When the sales tax is cut, the benefit is spread out over the entire populace but the most benefit goes to those who spend more on things other than food, mostly those who earn higher incomes. I have shown in past editions of the Gem State Patriot how eliminating the sales tax on groceries would benefit those in the lower-income brackets, but evidently, our legislators don’t care about those Idahoans without a lot of money as they can’t contribute to their reelection campaigns.
We are still in a state of emergency and the state has received over 8 billion dollars from the feds and there is a surplus of $662 million in the state coffers. Many of the people of Idaho have been displaced from their places of employment especially those in the hospitality industry who receive some of the lowest wages in the state. Who is getting most of the 8 billion in federal money? Where is it being spent? Why is it so important to keep this grocery tax when so many people are living on the margin? All good questions that our legislative leaders don’t seem to be able to answer.
They say they will give us a one-time break in property taxes, but what will happen next year when they don’t get another $8 billion from the feds? You can bet that those taxes they cut will be back and with increases that will hurt everyone, especially the elderly who are on fixed incomes. Do they want more of the low-income and elderly to lose their homes? It sure seems like it.
The per capita income for Idaho for 2019 was $29,600, while the median household income was $61,000 with most families having 2 incomes per household. The poverty rate in Idaho is 14.5%, based on the federal poverty levels, which are: Household Size of 1: $12,760; Household Size of 2: $17,240; Household Size of 3: $21,729. Most of these people are in the SNAP program and don’t pay tax. We have over 237,000 families who are at or below the poverty level, but many more who are in that $30 to $40,000 bracket that are on fixed incomes and are hurt the most by this stupid regressive grocery tax. Even with the tax credit, this is a very regressive tax and Idaho has the third-highest sales tax rate on food among the 13 states that still tax food.
We can expect the cost of Medicaid expansion to skyrocket in the next few years, just as we predicted 4 years ago. This is going to cause great consternation to our governor and legislators because they will have to come up with more tax dollars to pay for this new expense that is already careening out of control. During the 2018 election, Congressman Labrador had promised a plan to cut taxes to 5% sales, 5% personal income, and 5% corporate. Could it be that he knew there were too many exemptions from the sales tax? Governor Little and legislative leadership ran on cutting the sales tax on groceries, but they can’t seem to figure out how to fix our tax problem even with $8 billion in additional federal money this year.
Maybe the governor and legislative leadership should be looking for who gets large sales tax exemptions like the huge exemptions for the Ag community. Think about who is in the AG businesses that are also in our legislative leadership. How about Governor Little a Rancher or Rep. Moyle who is a farmer, or how about the illustrious House Speaker Bedke who is also a rancher. Does anyone see what I’m talking about? It’s time to level the playing field and get these taxes from the businesses and individuals who have been avoiding them for many years instead of those Idahoans on fixed and low incomes. Keep in mind the elitists serve themselves first. Who were the first in line to get the covid vaccines?
Maybe Idaho needs to cut our bad legislators in the next election. Maybe Bedke, Moyle, Chaney, Rice, and Harris need to be challenged in the next primary because it appears they are the real stumbling block in getting rid of this regressive grocery tax, and they are also putting our freedom of speech in jeopardy! These legislators and the governor promised to repeal this tax before the last election and every time it comes up for a vote, they change the venue to something that keeps it in place. These supposed leaders of our legislative branch need to be replaced with some real conservatives who actually care about the people of this state who live from hand to mouth. If the people of Idaho allow these liars to get away with this, I say they are no better than them for letting it happen. I’m asking the people of Idaho to let their legislators know that they want this grocery tax repealed this session or they want their resignations.
“We Get the Government We Deserve”
(And only YOU, the voters of Idaho, can change it.)