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Eye On Boise

Not saying they’re sorry

House Tax Chairman Dolores Crow issued a warning to her committee this morning: “From now on, it’s crunch time,” she said. “We will be getting a lot of bills.” She warned lawmakers that if they see a proposal they don’t support, “for heaven’s sake don’t vote to introduce it. … Don’t vote for it just because you feel sorry for somebody.”

All eyes immediately turned to Rep. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, who was up next to propose a bill giving a property tax break to homeowners over age 70. But McKague’s bill got introduced on a unanimous vote. It will go to a subcommittee studying property tax relief bills. Already there is one from Rep. Leon Smith, R-Twin Falls, to offer a voluntary deferral of large property tax increases for taxpayers 65 or older, with the balance due when they sell, move or die.

A few minutes later, David Lehmann, an aide to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, faced the committee to pitch a bill allowing an income tax checkoff to help families of National Guard members. “I appreciate your comments earlier,” Lehmann told Crow. “I would ask that the committee not pay too much attention to them for a few more minutes.”

Amid laughter, Crow warned, “That’s not smart.”

But the checkoff bill, too, got introduced on a unanimous vote.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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