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Eye On Boise

Henderson: ‘The mathematics is obvious’

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, says he’s been promoting his idea about changing the “bands,” or groupings, for car and light truck registration fees for the past year, dropping to three groups rather than five. “I’ve submitted that idea for over a year, but nobody ever picked up on it,” he said. “By doing that, that system increases revenue by 16 percent, whatever you charge for fees.” The reason? “Right now, if you buy a new car, you pay $48 for two years.” After that, the rate drops for a two- or three-year-old car. “The new system is four years - and it’s so slight that it’s harmless … You can raise revenue by 16 percent without hurting the public.” Added Henderson, “The mathematics is obvious.”

When Gov. Butch Otter decided to adopt his idea in the governor’s new registration fee bill, “I felt good about it,” Henderson said. But he said he’s more excited about an executive order Otter issued yesterday, promising more accountability over operations and spending at ITD. The director would have to report quarterly to the ITD board, the governor, and the House and Senate transportation chairs on progress on meeting benchmarks to comply with a recent audit. “If they don’t do what they said they would do, they can’t request spending authority,” Henderson said. “It’s significant.” Asked if the executive order makes him more likely to support the governor’s transportation tax proposals, Henderson said, “You bet your life. … It’s just been difficult over the years to get the data I needed from ITD.” The proposed new process, he said, “gives the Legislature a continuing front-row seat on the programs and process of the transportation department.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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