The governor's legislation to increase Idaho's gas tax has failed in the House, on a 27-43 vote.
The debate in the House lasted for close to two hours, with representatives from throughout the state speaking out for and against the bill. "I'm going to support this bill because I see a need for it, but if we end this session without also investing in our human infrastructure, I think it will be a great failure," said Rep. Shirley Ringo, D-Moscow, calling for avoiding cuts in education funding. Rep. George Eskridge, R-Dover, speaking in favor of the bill, said, "It is above all else a safety issue." House GOP Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, said, "The Idaho taxpayers don't like taxes, but they really don't like bad roads." Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Eagle, said he's heard from people in the construction business who would benefit, but the rest of his constituents don't want their taxes raised. "It's actually never the right time to raise taxes, but especially at this time when our constituents are struggling," he said. Rep. Lenore Hardy Barrett, R-Challis, said, "I oppose a tax hike, not in any amount and not for any reason."