Dear Idaho Legislature:

Anything is possible if you want to do it.

If you had parents like mine, you’ve heard that before growing up. More importantly, you’ve proven in the past that, seemingly if motivated by certain industries, you can move fast. (see Idaho Agricultural Security Act 2014)

Yet, through years ranging from asking nicely, begging, crying, pleading, the Idaho Legislature doesn’t seem to want to get rid of a certain tax on groceries.

Why?

Is it that hard? Is it that difficult to figure out which edible items should or should not be taxed? Furthermore, if you can’t figure that out, why not lessen that tax percentage in the meantime? Or, is that another headache?

Legislators, I understand you’re in a thankless position. You operate for 4 months under the white hot scrutiny of a population. You’re faced with multiple issues at once and you’re presented with multiple ideas at once. On top of that, you don’t get to say to a voter or an industry “no”…at least not to their face. You need to balance the budget, make sure we’re not overspending, acting responsibly, etc…my understanding has a ceiling when I realize you put your names on the ballot.

…but when you want to do something…you do it. When you are called upon by certain directives, you do it. When you wish something to happen, it can come true. (like letting 8000 pages of administrative rules to expire last year)

Legislators, the Idaho State Capitol is just a scooter ride away from 2 LARGE grocery stores. Instead of going to some association dinner, or lobbyist lunch, walk the aisles, figure it out. Use the WIC standards if you wish. Just figure it out…this year.

I can admire a thought that directs attention to times where the state budget may not be robust. I can admire a direction that allows Idaho to prepare for an economic downturn. However, state incomes are coming in ahead of projections to the point where IDAHO CAN AFFORD TO ELIMINATE THE GROCERY TAX NOW. Now that Idaho is collecting more internet sales tax revenue, now that Idaho will be soon collecting hemp revenue and now that the population is growing.

Eventually, the voters will not whine, complain, beg, pout. They’ll get angry. They’ll either pass a citizen initiative that runs the risk of being poorly thought out, or simply, start turning on their representatives and senators.

So, and I mean this kindly and sincerely, please listen. Stop telling us, “We’re looking into it.”, “We’re researching it.”, “We’re trying.” and do it…this year.

-Nate

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