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Eastern Idaho Girl Scouts: Stop taxing our cookies

Did you know Idaho is one of only two states in the entire country where Girl Scout Cookies are taxed?

On Wednesday, some local troop leaders said it’s time to do away with the sales tax on the program.

“It helps them learn the value of money,” said mom and troop leader Stephanie Jones.

Jones hit the streets with daughters Maxine and Isabella on Wednesday afternoon.

“Would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?” Isabella asked neighbor after neighbor.

It’s that time again, the Idaho Silver Sage Council is out selling their delicious treats, and Isabella and Maxine are getting an early start.

For $3.75 a box, you can savor the sweetness.

But keep in mind, 22-cents of every Girl Scout Cookie box sold in Idaho goes to the state.

Annually that’s a tax revenue of about $140,000.

Hawaii is the only other state in the nation to impose a sales tax on Girl Scout Cookies.

Cindy Ozaki has led her Girl Scouts since they were in kindergarten. They all graduate high school this year.

“If all the other states are doing it, it obviously means it makes a big difference,” said Ozaki. “Why not put the money closest to the people doing the actual programs?”

Ozaki said the cookie program is more than a fundraising effort. Jones agreed and said it’s like a classroom outside the classroom for her girls.

“They have to set that goal and meet that goal,” said Jones.

Learning life skills is a cornerstone of the Girl Scouts Cookie program.

In fact, the idea is set forth boldly in the program’s family guidebook.

Girl Scouts are expected to learn goal-setting, decision-making and money-management, among other skills, while they participate in the program.

Opponents of the cookie tax ask, ‘Why tax something that’s essentially a life-skills program?’

On top of the life-skills, Ozaki said Girl Scouts could use the $140,000 annual revenue to keep community programs and scholarships going.

“In our area, that amount of money would make a huge difference in the success of the Girl Scouts programs,” said Ozaki.

A Boise-based lobbyist named Julie Hart is currently representing the Girl Scouts Silver Sage Council for free.

She said she’s working to get a repeal of the sales tax passed this legislative session.

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