But the big attention-getter among new bills on Monday was the new version of Rep. Ken Roberts’ plan to amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds vote for future tax increases. The new version, which replaces one introduced earlier, expands the idea to include not just tax hikes, but also any act of the Legislature to remove or reduce any tax break or exemption.
Members of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee noted that the amendment would mean tax breaks could be enacted by a simple majority vote, but it’d take two-thirds to get rid of them.
“One is raising a tax,” Roberts explained. “The other is enjoying a tax break for different reasons, maybe industry reasons.”
After the committee defeated an attempt to kill Roberts’ bill on an 11-6 vote, it voted to introduce the measure. Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, grumbled, “I think this is an invitation to gridlock, and if we’d had it last year we would still be here – after a short recess."
Last year, Idaho lawmakers went a record 118 days in session before finally agreeing to raise taxes to balance the budget.