Thanks to a public records request filed by Idaho Statesman reporter Dan Popkey, we now know what the missing words from Gov. Butch Otter’s State of the State message were, that he had removed in his final draft. Popkey reported in the Idaho Statesman today that the missing passage from his message to lawmakers was: "I also encourage you to come together in agreement that cities and counties must have the option - with the consent of voters - to provide financially for their own community infrastructure needs. If local folks in a given jurisdiction want to impose a tax on themselves, they should have that opportunity. We must not let our own views cloud our commitment to self-determination and enabling people to be the architects of their own destiny."
That suggests Otter is open to local-option taxation without requiring a constitutional amendment, a restrictive move backed by House Speaker Lawerence Denney and House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, who asked Otter to remove the passage from the speech at the last minute. Otter later said, in an interview on Idaho Public Television, that he did so because of “tender negotiations” on the issue. Popkey also reported today the reason for the long, awkward pause in the middle of Otter’s speech, in which he said he lost his place and flipped through pages before resuming: The teleprompter contained the local-option passage. Through a glitch, the 9th and final draft of the speech hadn’t been loaded into it, leaving Otter looking at his 8th draft. Read Popkey’s full story here at idahostatesman.com.