The Senate State Affairs Committee this morning began its consideration of HJR 4, the constitutional amendment to limit local-option taxes, but ran out of time after the first presenter, House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Meanwhile, the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning introduced new enabling legislation that would let cities and counties impose local-option sales taxes by a two-thirds vote at November general elections if the constitutional amendment passes and is approved by voters. Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, tried to propose an amendment to ban local-option sales taxes from being used for property tax relief – which is exactly what Kootenai County has used half its local-option tax proceeds for, to try to keep costs of serving tourists from falling solely on local property taxpayers. Raybould’s motion didn’t get voted on, because a motion to just introduce the bill and hold a hearing on it passed first on a voice vote. Chairman Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, said he’ll hold the hearing tomorrow morning at 8:30.
Over in the Senate committee, Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said the full Senate won’t vote on the constitutional amendment until it also has the enabling legislation. “We have to have the enabling legislation,” Davis said. He added that he has “no idea” whether the amendment can get the required two-thirds vote in the Senate.