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Update on Senate Amendments to Grocery Tax & Transportation Funding Bills—Contact Legislators to Support SB 1188 on Transportation Funding

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This afternoon, the Idaho Senate adopted amendments to strengthen the grocery tax repeal and transportation funding bills. 

On the bill repealing the state sales tax on food, House Bill 67, the Senate adopted an amendment supported by AIC that increases the local government revenue sharing percentage of sales tax revenue from 11.5% to 13.2% to offset the lost revenue to local governments.  The amendment also resolves a timing issue with the effective dates of the repeal of the tax on groceries and the grocery income tax credit.

AIC greatly appreciates the work of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cliff Bayer of Meridian, to resolve this issue in a way that is equitable for local governments.  The amendment allows AIC to withdraw its opposition to the bill and be neutral on the proposal.

On the transportation funding bill, Senate Bill 1188, the amended bill will include the following elements: authorization for issuing up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state transportation projects; moving the Idaho State Police out of the Highway Distribution Account and dedicating sales tax revenue for the agency; reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for five years, with revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions; and requesting a study by the Office of Performance Evaluation of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

AIC strongly urges city officials to contact their local legislators and support Senate Bill 1188, as amended.  This bill is essential to meeting transportation needs for both the state and local highway jurisdictions. 

The $300 million in authorization for GARVEE bonds will fund road and bridge construction projects on state highways and freeways, including badly needed repairs to I-84 between Caldwell and Nampa.

The bill will also move the dedicated funding for the Idaho State Police from the Highway Distribution Account to dedicated sales tax revenue, which will free up an additional $17 million annually for state and local transportation needs.  The Highway Distribution Account revenue will be split 60% to the Idaho Transpiration Department (ITD) and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts).

The surplus eliminator, which currently dedicates half of state general fund surplus revenues to ITD for road and bridge projects, would be reauthorized for up to 5 years, and split 60% to ITD and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.  These funds would provide grants for road and bridge projects to improve safety, mobility, economic development, and repair and maintenance of bridges.

Strengthening Idaho’s infrastructure is key to growing our economy and protecting our quality of life.  We strongly urge city officials to contact their local legislators to support Senate Bill 1188 as amended.

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