Only “Small People” Suffer At Idaho Tax Agency

Seems someone in Idaho State government has a new concept when it comes to “exemptions.” This memo was circulated at the Idaho Tax commission explaining why the tax commishes don’t share the furlough pain with the rest of the staff:

Good afternoon everyone.
This is a difficult and important message from us to all of you. In the interest of full disclosure and open communication between the commissioners and employees, we want to make you aware of a situation. Since the inception of required furlough hours taken by Tax Commission employees, the commissioners have willingly participated and also taken the appropriate furlough hours. The commissioners have now been told that by doing so, we are violating state law. Therefore, we must comply with the law. We regret having to do this, but it is simply out of our hands. We ask for your understanding and thank you for your continued hard work.

The Commissioners
Royce, Sam, Tom, David

WEDNESDAY P.M. UPDATE — We got this explanation from the State Controller’s office:

This letter between the Controller and the AG is privileged at this point. We did get a verbal opinion. The letter is asking for a formal opinion. Here are some key excerpts…..

….. the current economy and pressures on the state budget have managers, such as the Tax Commissioners, looking for innovative ways to save personnel costs and participate in holdbacks along with their agency employees. However, it is the Controller’s position that the code(s) which pertain to salaries set by statute do not allow for situational interpretation.

Based on a previous Attorney General opinion (December 23, 2008) regarding pay limitations for other annual salaried employees (elected officials), whose salaries are set by state statute, it is our office’s understanding that Idaho Code, Section 63-102(1) is also not flexible for those commissioners whose salaries are set by state statute……. Therefore, our office is seeking your formal opinion on the following questions…….?

It was also noted commishes and all others, whose salaries are set by code, can always donate back to the General Fund any amount they choose after they are paid. Ironically, in a classic “don’t ask, don’t tell” scenario, the Controller was unaware the Tax Commishes were actually taking furlough and sharing the economic pain prior to the inquiry.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. You see, we are way too busy cutting “sweatheart” exemptions for our friends and buddies! Therefore, as much as we would like to feel your pain, we are mandated to remain above you, economically as well as socially!
    If any of you have questions concerning this memo, you may reach us at Chandlers in the bar.(Our normal table)

  2. No, not only the “small People” shoulder a burden at the Tax Commission, they also let the well connected and bankrolled “taxpayers” get a break that is not extended to other taxpayers. Everybody should pay their taxes.
    I would be nice if state tax commission collected the over $53,000 that Phil Hart,(R)State representative owes us. Us being Idaho taxpayers. He can protest his taxes all we wants, but the rule of law is, comply and grieve. It is not – stiff Idaho and America and then whine.

  3. “If the people have no bread then LET THEM EAT CAKE!”

  4. Jim:

    People who are out of work suddently, cannot find work, or are not “entitled” to unemployment benefits because some benefits “counselor” type makes biased decisions, cannot always pay their taxes on time. That does not make them tax cheats or bad Idahoans or bad Americans. Bully those who have not been impacted by the economy and can pay on time. Most honest citizens make some attempt to pay some portion of their taxes, yet allow themselves to still buy food, gasoline and necessities so they can care for their families and continue to seek employment. That should be good enough until circumstances change. I do not believe in any tax code that allows honest people’s goods to be confiscated, nor do I think the law should allow liens on homes for less than $25,000 or more in tax debts.

    Regarding the tax commissioners– statutes and policies are published, they know how to read, they should have known. Now that alleged “sweetheart deals” have been raised by Rep. Shirley Ringo, a Democrat, commissioners are making “nice nice.” This is not a Republican-bashing issue as the Idaho Republican Party chief has intimated…the commissioners fill Republican, Independent and Democratic seats. If the rest of the tax staff must see furloughs and cuts, then so should the commissioners. The statute is elitist and has nothing to do with politics and should be repealed. This is, unfortunately, an at-will state — that means you too public officials! Find a way to cut their pay and benefits commensurate with the rest of us poor idiots who continue allow the cream to rise to the top and sit there until it curdles.

  5. KTA, Of course they knew the policies! This was just a “smokescreen” for political cover. Shouldn’t the make-up of the commisssion re-inforce the point that there really isn’t a nickle’s worth of difference between republicans and democrats. One believes they should have all your money, and the other thinks you are too stupid to make your own decisions. Results? Same!

  6. The law does not prevent them from giving it away… Perhaps they could do so in a very public way, to removing the stench this law has created.

  7. Cyclops:

    Can’t disagree with you on this one. These appointments are generally attaboys and attagirls and cross party lines.

    I do have several questions for the state controller, AG and Governor, though:

    In what way did the commisisoners “break the law?” They voluntarily took furloughs; they didn’t change state law or the salary provision. Keep the money.

    If the commishes “broke the law,” shouldn’t they be fined, sanctioned or fired?

    If the commishes took days off and are now getting a refund, shouldn’t they forfeit any vacation time, hunting, fishing trips, sick leave etc. until they make up the same number of hours they took off to save pay, the same as anyone else.

    Surely, there’s an equitable solution for taxpayers in this latest state snafu???

  8. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 24, 2010, 1:06 pm

    cyclops said: “…there really isn’t a nickle’s worth of difference between republicans and democrats.”

    I have to agree with cyclops on this one, but only at the local and state level. In Washington there are vast differences, often measured in terms of life and death.

  9. Salaries….forced to work 50 to 60 hrs a week. No extra pay and shut up.

    Hourly employee’s over 40 hours overtime is paid. But no benifits and take a 20% wage cut and shut up.

    Whats this required furlough hours?

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