A passing remark in Senate debate yesterday from Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, has prompted talk about North Idaho seceding from the state – though Jorgenson cautioned this morning, “I don’t know of any formal effort to try and do that, but there are people who say it.”
Jorgenson was debating in favor of SJR 108, a constitutional amendment to shift school operations funding from the property tax to the sales tax. He noted the outcry for property tax relief in North Idaho. “People in the north have been sending signals for a long time,” he said. “It’s evolved into tax initiatives and turning school bonds down. These things all lend themselves to regionalism – God forgive me, I apologize from the bottom of my heart for having to say it, but it gives rise to secession.”
Jorgenson said this morning, “We just want to be heard, and we’re not being heard.” The constitutional amendment failed yesterday because it didn’t get a two-thirds vote – but legislation to do the same thing, which requires only a majority vote, is scheduled to be debated in the House today.
Jorgenson had no comment on whether, if North Idaho secedes, it should join Washington, Montana or Canada.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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