Nearly three-fourths of Idahoans support giving local cities the authority to have their citizens vote on raising their own sales taxes for roads and public transportation, a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll shows.

IPW pollster Dan Jones & Associates finds in a recent survey that 72 percent of Idahoans support a local option sales tax process.

Twenty-one percent oppose the Legislature giving local entities the power, while 7 percent don’t know.

It’s important to understand that under the various proposals, the local government itself – city council and mayor – couldn’t impose the local sales tax hike.

Any sales tax increase would have to be approved beforehand by the voters.

The GOP-controlled Legislature has for years refused to give local government such power to raise the local option sales tax, with voter approval.

A bill that included such a local option sales tax for roads/public transportation failed in the state Senate near the end of this year’s general session.

State lawmakers in larger cities, like Boise and Twin Falls, have advocated for extending the current resort town local option tax into other areas of local taxation.

But so far the Legislature as a whole has been resistant.

Resort towns can impose a 0.5 percentage point local option tax to help offset the increased costs of hosting large numbers of tourists/skiers each year.

Many states already give local governments – with the approval of their voters – the power to impose an extra sales tax for roads and public transportation.

In fact, nearly all large public transportation systems in America are taxpayer subsidized one way or another.

Support for the local option transportation tax is universal across political demographic lines, Jones finds:

  • Idaho Republicans support such a local option tax, 70-23 percent.

  • Democrats like the idea of letting local voters decide, 82-12 percent.

  • Political independents (who don’t belong to any party) favor it, 70-24 percent.

  • And those who belong to a minor political party also like the option, 73-10 percent.

Even those who self-identified to Jones that they are “very conservative” politically favor giving local voters the option of raising their taxes for roads and public transportation, 62-32 percent.

Moderates favor the idea, 84-10 percent.

And those who said they are “very liberal” politically support it, 85-7 percent.

Jones polled 628 adults from Feb. 16-18. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.91 percent.