UPDATE: Idaho House Passes Sales Tax Exemption on Girl Scout Cookies 

"I'm nine years old ... this is my first year in Girl Scouts. On my first day I sold 104 boxes of cookies. I think my goal of selling 500 boxes is high, but it's something I can reach."

UPDATE: March 19, 2013

The Idaho House today voted to grant a special exemption on sales tax for Girl Scout cookies.

On a vote of 59-11, House lawmakers decided to give up approximately $140,000 per year in sales tax revenue. Scout leaders and more than a few parents and children watched from the House Gallery today - returning to the Idaho Statehouse after testifying on March 11 that the funds would go toward scouting programs.

House Bill 250 now moves to the Idaho Senate. If Senate lawmakers choose to consider the measure, it would surface first in the Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee.

ORIGINAL STORY: March 11, 2013

The much-discussed Girl Scout cookie measure passed through the House Revenue and Taxation Committee this morning, as the committee's lawmakers said "yes" to remove Idaho's 6 percent sales tax from a box of Girl Scout cookies.

A $3.75 box of peanut butter patties or thin mints generates 22 cents into Idaho's general fund, which would be reduced by $140,000 each year if the full legislature wipes out the tax.

"I think this is the main reason most our audience came here today," said Nampa Republican Rep. Gary Collins, the committee's chair. "Hopefully these ladies aren't skipping school today."

But a group of young ladies stood before the lawmakers urging their support for House Bill 250.

"I'm nine years old and this is my first year in Girl Scouts. On my first day I sold 104 boxes of cookies. I think my goal of selling 500 boxes is high, but it's something I can reach," said Ella Markham who could barely reach the podium's microphone.

Julie Hart, spokesperson for the Girl Scouts said that the $3.75 box of cookies included about 97 cents worth of cookies.

"But there is so much else that is inside of that box that you're paying for," said hart. "Scholarships, programs, responsibility and self-confidence is in there."

Hart told lawmakers that 81 percent of Girl Scouts go on to achieve a bachelor's degree, and as much as 99 percent don't enter the juvenile correction system.

"I don't think, in the mind of any of us, this is a referendum on Girl Scouts," said Blackfoot Republican Rep. Neil Anderson. "It's a question of who gets that 22 cents. It goes into our general fund, the majority of which goes toward education."

But legislators heard from girls and young women champion the scouts.

"This is absolutely the wrong way to deal with tax policy," said Anderson. "But I'm going to support this today."

In the end the committee voted unanimously to forward HB 250 to the full House with a do-pass recommendation.

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