Gov. Butch Otter will get to decide the fate of a bill expanding a state income tax deduction to include additional energy upgrades for thousands of homes in Idaho. The Senate voted 31-4 in favor of the tax break, which will reduce general fund receipts by about $870,000. The bill would let homeowners get a tax break when they put in new energy efficiencies including storm windows, insulation, caulking and other weatherization.
Critics say the bill is a means to use tax policy to social engineer at the expense of other taxpayers, but no one spoke against the measure in debate on the Senate floor Monday.
Sen. Curt McKenzie, R-Nampa, said while energy upgrades aren’t mandatory, the Legislature can try to influence the decisions of consumers and get them to be more energy efficient.
“One of the ways we do that is through the tax code,” McKenzie said. “It just is important for us to keep those costs down for our future load demand. I think this is a good way to do it. It is a carrot instead of a stick.”
The measure had already passed the House.