When Gov. Butch Otter vetoed his first bill last week, few lawmakers were familiar with the low-profile proposal from the state Tax Commission, and even fewer were fired up about it. “It was a noncontroversial bill,” said Rep. David Langhorst, D-Boise, the bill's Senate floor sponsor. The measure cleared both houses of the Legislature on nearly unanimous votes. Lawmakers and political observers say Otter was flexing his political muscle to send a message that may have had little to do with the bill: He won’t hesitate to take a stand. “He has found the veto stamp in the governor's office and knows how to use it,” said Jim Weatherby, Boise State University political scientist emeritus.
The bill, HB 8, would have changed a state law that requires the Tax Commission to send certified letters notifying taxpayers whose property – bank accounts, paychecks or other assets – it is planning to seize for past-due taxes. Because half those certified letters are refused or returned, the Tax Commission wants to switch to first-class mail. That would have saved taxpayers $25,000 a year in postal charges and stopped wasting money on letters that weren't getting delivered. Read the full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review.