Dueling Tax Bills: Governor Otter vs. Senate

Date: February 19, 2018

Listen to the state’s chief executive, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, discuss their health-care initiative in an exclusive telephone town hall with NFIB members

State Director Suzanne Budge reports from Boise on the small-business agenda for the legislative week ending February 16

It’s time to start watching the game of chicken that will unfold over competing tax measures: Gov. Butch Otter’s bill, H463, which has passed the House on a 59-11 vote, and the Senate’s competing measure, H558

H463 would conform with the federal tax code, including the provisions for pass-through entities, section 199A, which reduces most pass-through income by 20 percent on a business owner’s income tax return. Pass-through entities are businesses organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or S corporations. They are taxed at the individual income tax code, not the corporate tax code.

Senator Dan Johnson’s version, H558, would give less income tax relieve and does not include the pass-through provision. NFIB predicts that the “going home bill” will be an outgrowth of the battle over these provisions in the 2018 conformity bill.

The governor’s H463 now sits in the Senate Local Government Committee, awaiting a hearing. Senator Johnson is chairman of that committee.

State Budget

The joint legislative budget committee, JFAC, started setting budgets. JFAC voted to increase the revenue projections from the governor’s and EORAC’s original general fund revenue estimate for FY2018 of 5.3 percent growth or $3.63 billion. The new estimate being used for FY2018 is $3.65 billion, which is an increase over FY2017 of 5.9 percent.

JFAC also adopted the recommendations of the Joint CEC Committee to fund merit raises averaging 3 percent for state employees. This includes $19.5 million from the General Fund, $14.2 million from dedicated funds, and $6.3 million from federal funds for a total of $40.1 million.

The budget-setting schedule ahead includes public school support and financing among many others. With the budget-setting now underway, the Legislature is on the downhill side of the 2018 session. It is starting with the big-ticket items like public education, which accounts for half of the state budget.

Once the budgets are set, we can expect about two weeks left in the session.

Telephone Town Hall

Thanks to everyone who participated in the NFIB Telephone Town Hall with Governor Otter and Lt. Governor Brad Little on February 13. There was a full discussion of legislative activities, including Idaho’s state-based health plans and proposed tax cuts. An audio recording of the 45-minute town hall can be heard here.

Day at the Capitol, February 27

Lawmakers will meet with NFIB members on February 27 for a legislative reception hosted jointly by NFIB and the Idaho Retailers Association. Please join us from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Beside Bardenay Restaurant and Distillery to meet your lawmaker and share your stories and priorities for the Legislature. There is no cost to attend but a reservation is required and can be made online here.

Prior Reports, News Releases, Editorials, Testimony

February 13 Telephone Town Hall—Audio of Gov. Butch Otter, Lt. Gov. Brad Little in Exclusive Talk With NFIB Members

February 9 Report—Tax-Cut Bill Passes Idaho House

February 2 Report—NFIB Victory: Bill Cutting UI Tax Rates Becomes Law

January 26 Report—Bill Cutting UI Tax Rates Sent to Governor

January 19 Report—Unemployment Insurance Rate Cut on Fast Track for Passage

January 12 Report—Idaho Legislature Returns to Business

January 5 Testimony—NFIB Idaho Testifies on the Small-Business Economy

December 20, 2017, News Release—Poll of Small-Business Owners a Guide for 2018 Legislature

[Tile photo courtesy of The official website of the Idaho Legislature.]

Related Content: News | Healthcare | Idaho | State Budget | Taxes

Subscribe For Free News And Tips

Enter your email to get FREE small business insights. Learn more

From left to right: On February 13, Lt. Gov. Brad Little, Gov. Butch Otter, and NFIB Idaho State Director Suzanne Budge held a telephone town hall exclusively for NFIB members. Click here for a story and the audio on this NFIB-member event.

Get to know NFIB

NFIB is America's leading small business association, promoting and protecting the right of our members to own, operate, and grow their business

Find out more about
NFIB Membership

Or call us today



State Issues

Choose Your State


YEF Foundation Research Center Legal Foundation

Member Benefits