Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Monday, February 20, 2006

Good News for Pullman Business

Just as Whitman County is set to vote on raising its sales tax to 7.7%, a full 2.7% higher than Idaho, it looks like the Idaho legislature is going to help us out. From KBCI in Boise:

BOISE - State legislators pushing for an increase in the sales tax have someone like Valerie Griffith in mind.

"My property tax goes up every year and my parents' property tax has been going up and they are really concerned about it," Griffith said.

Her elderly parents live on a fixed income, yet the value of their Meridian home keeps rising. The current bill in the legislature would raise the sales tax one penny per dollar, from five to six percent. Supporters of the increase say it would be to offset an potential decrease in property taxes. Yet Sanjay Moorthy says that isn't fair.

"From a totally self point of view, I think it's not that great because I don't have any property and I don't like paying extra money," Moorthy said.

Moorthy rents his place in Boise and believes its a sign of ineffiency that taxes might be raised, and that an increase won't fix anything.

"If we could solve the problems at the root, instead of trying to solve a symptom, rather than an actual disease," he added.

The sales tax was at five percent for many years until it was raised to six percent for two years. Then, the legislature decided to push it back to five.

Last year in letting the sales tax expire, Governor Kempthorne said he was helping Idaho taxpayers but critics said it wouldn't be long before they thought of raising the tax again.

Valerie Griffith said the tax never should have been rolled back.

"They repealed that, I don't know if that was the right thing to do, or if they should have just left it to where anyone moving into Idaho, whether they own property or not, is sharing in the tax burden," Griffith said.

Christine Hanzlik says she wasn't bothered by the tax when it was six cents.

"I bought a computer, a car and things like that. If things need to be bought, they're going to be bought," Hanzlik said.

The House is expected to vote on the bill in the next several weeks.
You had to see this coming. Lowering a tax is like trying to cut out a root wrapped around a septic tank line. Even if you succeed, chances are it will be a big mess.

Meanwhile, a nice fat one percent sales tax increase, combined with the "Great Leap Backward" plan being adopted by the Presidium of the Moscow Supreme Soviet, will help level the economic playing field on the Palouse.

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