With the start of a new legislative session in Idaho, representatives have already tackled some of the top issues for this year and are setting a hopeful trend of progress and unanimity between parties. House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding discussed several topics with BYU-Idaho Radio including business taxes, affordable housing, and health care. "We had a unanimous vote on the house side to lower the unemployment insurance tax for businesses in Idaho," Erpelding said. "Now we're at a place where we can lower that rate. We have an over-capitalized fund and we can give, in the next few years, close to one-hundred and nineteen million dollars back to businesses in Idaho.
Erpelding agrees this is something everyone is excited about. In addition to lowering business tax, he brought up one of his main concerns this year being the topic of affordable housing. "People are getting priced out of their rental units," Erpelding said. "It's really hard for a person who's trying to save every penny they have to buy a house if their rent is going up at a rate that's twice the pace of their job."
Erpelding, who recently penned an op-ed about the Idaho Housing trust fund, explained how the fund was never supported since it first passed in 1992. He hopes to direct support and attention to this fund.
Concerning the issue of health care in Idaho, Erpelding mentioned Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's proposed Idaho Health Care Plan, which would allow as many as 35,000 Idahoans to enter into the exchange and receive tax credit. "It would help close the gap of those seventy-eight thousand Idahoans who don't currently have any health care," said Erpelding. "It won't completely close the gap, but what it will do is help lower insurance rates and help put people into the insurance pools."
Follow the link below to listen to the full interview.