Small Business Wins Some Tax, WC Relief
Below are some big NFIB victories for small business from the Idaho Legislature elected for the 2013/2014 sessions.
Eliminated the Business Personal Property for 90 Percent of Businesses
NFIB lobbied heavily throughout the legislative process for elimination of the business personal property tax. As a result, House Bill 315, a compromise measure, eliminates the tax for 85 percent to 90 percent of Idaho businesses, providing $20 million in tax relief. HB315 provides an exemption for the first $100,000 in value for purposes of personal property tax assessment in a county. The bill also allows an exemption for an individual purchase of $3,000 and creates a uniform application process. Businesses that fall under $100,000 exemption can file every five years rather than annually. Idaho businesses will get $20 million in tax relief!
Reduced Workers’ Compensation Premiums
NFIB supported passage of Senate Bill 1145, extending current law that reduces the tax on workers’ compensation premiums from 2.5 percent to 2 percent through December 31, 2015. This premium tax reduction will be passed on the employers and will provide about $5 million in tax relief over three years (Fiscal Years 2014-2016).The Industrial Commission will keep the lower tax rate to reduce the balance in the industrial administration fund.
Won Greater Legislative Oversight of Regulations
As the Legislature drew to a close, House and Senate leadership held an unprecedented ceremony in the well of the Idaho House of Representatives. The speaker of the House of Representatives and the president of the Senate gathered with majority and minority leadership teams to forge a bipartisan agreement to retain and strengthen legislative authority to reject administrative rules. The end product was House Joint Resolution 002, which proposes an amendment to the Idaho Constitution by the addition of a new Section 29, relating to legislative delegation of rule-making authority. This may sound like an obscure legislative function to some, but small businesses know the importance of reigning in red tape and bureaucracy in government. NFIB supports HJR002 and urges our members to vote in November to approve this measure.
Increased Contributions for Medical Savings Accounts
NFIB pushed for passage of House Bill 595, which amends existing law to revise provisions regarding taxation and increase contributions to medical savings accounts for state income tax purposes.
Protected Private Property Rights
NFIB lobbied for passage of House Bill 597, protecting private property rights and clarifying that the Outfitters and Guides Licensing Board is authorized to license outfitters and guides upon public lands within the state of Idaho.
Maintained Minimum-Wage Rate
NFIB helped win the defeat of job-killing minimum-wage increase proposals in the 2013 and 2014 sessions, including House Bills 56 and 57 and Senate Bill 1334, which would have increased Idaho’s current rate of $7.25 to $8.50 in 2014, to $9.75 in 2015 and then linked it to increases in the Consumer Price Index starting in 2016. The bill would have also raised the wage rate for tipped and seasonal employees.
Killed Proposal for a Local Option Tax
A bill to allow “local option” sales tax for cities and counties was to be proposed in 2014 as a way of allowing local government another tool to raise revenue to fund projects. Small and independent businesses have long opposed local option sales tax, and NFIB made its position clear with lawmakers. Cities and counties have long endorsed the concept, but despite several attempts, adding more taxing authority at the local level has not succeeded in the Legislature. 2014 was no different.