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Pencil it out

Before we forget, a quick reality check on the property tax-sales tax proposal offered by Governor Jim Risch, scheduled for passage by the Idaho Legislature later this month.

The snap view for many people is that any proposal which reduces their property tax will be beneficial, and Risch’s plan will – there’s no dispute on this – reduce property taxes, in many cases by around a fifth The catch is that he plans to raise the sales tax by a penny, to six cents, to do it.

There’s an emotional component to this. Many Idahoans have gotten so accustomed to the daily chore of complying with sales tax rules that they simply accept it and think little about it, and think little about wht the sales tax takes out of their pockets – they oull together only rarely how much those pennies and nickels and dimes add up. Property taxes, on the other hand, are paid in lump sum and can easily constitute a major hassle, even a crisis. So the roaw numbers may not be the whole story.

Still, how would you feel bout Risch’s plan if you learned that as a result of it, you’ll actually be paying more in taxes – less property tax, perhaps, but more in sales tax?

That is likely to be the end result, to one extent or other, for most Idahoans. To find out if you’re one of them, check out the Spokesman-Review Risch tax calculator. It isn’t statewide-perfected – some of the calculations relay on property tax rates for certain northern Idaho school districts – but it should be close enough to give you a general idea of what the plan will save or cost you.

Take the survey, and then watch the action on in a couple of weeks.

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