Generations of crackpot tax protesters have mounted the futile argument that income taxes are unconstitutional. For just as long, courts up and down the federal and state judicial systems have declared them constitutional.
Idaho state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, is unconvinced, however. The world around him is out of step.
So, Hart has piled up $300,000 in unpaid U.S. income taxes and another $53,000 in Idaho taxes, penalties and interest.
What should be done with this arrogant scofflaw?
The Idaho House has asked an ethics panel to decide.
Decide? Hart should be tossed out of the Legislature on grounds for what he is—an officeholder who mocks and violates federal and state laws by using the discredited fruitcake contention that tax laws are unconstitutional.
Title 63 of the Idaho revenue and taxation code goes to painful lengths describing who is to be taxed. The U.S. Constitutions' 16th Amendment provides income-taxing powers.
Hart's pretense is even more repugnant when considering this: He serves on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, where income taxes are no stranger to the conversation, and holds a master's degree from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Hart also took an oath to uphold the state and U.S. constitutions, an oath he apparently believes he can trifle with.
Idaho lawmakers have tolerated some oddballs in their midst. However, stomaching one that thumbs his nose at state and federal laws is unconscionable and a breach of public trust.