House unanimously passes child-tax credit bill

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After less than eight minutes of debate, the Idaho House unanimously approved a bill to raise the state child tax credit to alleviate concerns the $100 million tax cut that was signed into law hurts families.

The $130 credit created by the tax cut bill this year would rise to $205 under HB 675.

The bill’s lead sponsor, Majority Leader Mike Moyle, said his bill is expected to reduce taxes by $25 million.

The new bill cleared the House just one day after Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed HB 463, the tax cut measure.

HB 463 conforms Idaho tax laws to recent changes in federal tax code, while reducing business and income tax rates by .475 percent and creating the state $130 non-refundable child tax credit.

The Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy estimated that HB 463 is expected to result in net tax increases to Idaho families with three children or more in all tax brackets, particularly for middle and upper-middle income earning households.

“I think we cover most of the families and most of the concerns with this bill,” Moyle said of the new measure.

HB 675 falls short of the $280 credit that some lawmakers have said is needed to fully offset the tax code changes for families. Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, tried to amend HB 675 in committee to increase the credit to $280, but his motion failed.

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said “there’s supposed to be a tax cut here for Idaho’s families as well as other taxpayers.” But, he said, “this bill, while it goes a little bit in that direction, doesn’t solve that fundamental problem that HB 463 was unfair legislation.”

At a press conference at the beginning of the year Democrats pushed for a $250 child tax credit, but that gained little traction.

HB 675 is moving quickly; it cleared the House Revenue & Taxation Committee Monday and the full House Tuesday. To be considered on the floor Tuesday, Moyle requested a suspension of the rules to bring it from the second reading calendar to the third.

HB 675 must now clear a Senate committee, the full Senate and the governor to become law.

•••

Kyle Pfannenstiel covers the 2018 Idaho Legislature for the University of Idaho McClure Center for Public Policy Research.

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