Idaho lawmakers close to raising state sales tax; lowering property tax - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Idaho lawmakers close to raising state sales tax; lowering property tax

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BOISE, Idaho - The Idaho State House passed a $250 million dollar property tax break today for homeowners, business and farmers. Now, the Senate local government committee has taken up the measure and will likely vote this afternoon.

In exchange for the break approved by the House, Idaho residents would see the state sales tax rise by 1.25 cents to 6.5 cents. Money raised by the sales tax would pay for school maintenance funding, which is being taken off the property tax rolls. On average, Idaho homeowners would see their tax bills drop about 29 percent.

But critics say the measure undermines school maintenance funding by putting it on the volatile sales tax. They also say it's nothing more than a tax shift to Idaho's poorest residents, who don't own homes - but do pay sales taxes. Proponents say this is significant relief, the kind Idaho residents have been clamoring for.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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