After a closed-door caucus, House GOP leaders called a press conference to declare that they still don’t want to raise the gas tax, as Gov. Butch Otter has proposed. Majority Caucus Chairman Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, said GOP leaders are concerned about the state’s budget picture, including the latest revenue numbers. “Those numbers cause us some concern,” he said. “April’s numbers are not good news, in spite of statements to the contrary about ‘dodging a bullet.’ We didn’t dodge anything - in fact we’re still in the middle of the railroad tracks.” He said, “This is simply not the time to be talking about tax increases.”
House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, said, “We have basically completed our work. … We are not sure that this recession has even bottomed out yet. … We think it’s prudent to wait until we see when the economy has in fact bottomed out, before we go ahead and pass a gas tax.” Denney said the House will again attempt to unilaterally adjourn the session this week, “if that’s what it takes.”
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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