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Allred, Bunderson: Idaho needs fair, open tax policy

July 01, 2010

BOISE – Keith Allred, candidate for governor 2010, said today that Idaho tax collection is too important a process to be dominated by politics.

“For Idahoans to trust our government with that responsibility, we must know that we will be treated equally before the law,” Allred said. “Under Butch Otter, the administration of the tax power has resulted in unequal treatment.  Not only are hardworking Idahoans being punished for playing by the rules.  Now, Idaho school kids are also paying the price.”

Allred was joined by former Sen. Hal Bunderson, a Republican who retired from the Idaho Legislature in 2006 after 14 years. Bunderson praised Allred’s push for a more equitable tax system.

“I am troubled that Idaho’s education systems and economy are in the worst shape they have been for decades,” Bunderson said. “Keith Allred is the best-qualified gubernatorial candidate to lead Idaho through these troubled times.”

Because Butch Otter has failed to adequately fund the Idaho Tax Commission, the state is leaving millions of dollars out of the budget, and cutting school funding instead. And Otter has looked the other way while Idaho awards tax exemptions to special interests.

Allred and Bunderson said Idaho’s poorly funded and unaccounted-for Tax Commission and the $1.7 billion worth of special-interest sales tax exemptions are two hallmarks of Butch Otter’s failings as a leader.

 If the Governor had closed the tax gap last year, they would have had the money to educate our children today,” Bunderson said. “Now school districts are asking their taxpayers to increase property taxes or cut school days, programs and teachers.  How can a Governor allow this to happen - unchallenged?”

Allred unveiled three proposals to bring the concepts of openness and fair play to Idaho’s tax system.

  1. Staff the Tax Commission so that Idaho’s tax laws are administered equally.
  2. Require annual independent audits that specifically examine whether those with political connections get more favorable treatment.
  3. Remove ineffective tax exemptions in order to cut overall tax rates. Doing this will unbridle the power of small businesses to create jobs.

“We will see to it that Idaho taxpayers aren’t punished for playing by the rules and that tax deadbeats don’t steal our kids’ textbooks,” Allred said. “We will ensure that Idahoans get the fair and equal treatment under the law that they deserve.”

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