Idaho bill would pull more sales tax for roads
February 11, 2020
Funding for Idaho roads could soon get a shot in the arm.
Idaho now sends about 1% of the state’s sales tax collection to the highway account. According to legislative documents, the account received $18 million a year ago.
The account collects revenue from sources that include transportation-related purchases, such as vehicle sales, tires and vehicle parts.
House lawmakers voted 52-18 to advance a bill to the Senate to increase the amount of sales tax allotted to transportation. Specifically, H325 would double the amount sent from the general fund to transportation to 2%, or about $36 million annually.
The money would be used by the Idaho Transportation Department for their transportation expansion and congestion mitigation program and fund.
The bill awaits consideration in the Senate Transportation Committee.
Opposition and support
Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, was among the House members to vote against the bill. During House floor discussion, he pointed out the state recently increased the fuel tax rate by 7 cents and also raised vehicle registration fees.
“Our general fund is under considerable pressure already… It seems like we should not be putting more pressure on the general fund,” Gannon said.
He encouraged lawmakers to consider alternative funding methods so existing revenue can be used to benefit prison and education funding.
Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, is the bill sponsor. He acknowledged that transportation funding has increased considerably in recent years. Still, he says more is necessary.
Rep. Gayann DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, added that Utah is the fastest-growing state in the nation for three years running.
“We don’t see that slowing down any time soon,” she said. “It is our obligation to be providing this very basic necessity of drivable roads.”
More Land Line coverage of news from Idaho is available.