Idaho Secretary of State Ben Ysursa, who chaired the Land Board subcommittee that developed the rent proposal for state-owned cabin sites that Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is now challenging in the Idaho Supreme Court, said he was disappointed at the legal challenge, which he said was unprecedented in his three decades’ experience with the state Land Board. “The Land Board is where this ought to be discussed and vetted, not in the Supreme Court,” Ysursa said. “I respect the attorney general and have for years and will continue to, but I think the Land Board and completely vetting the issue there rather than marching off into court would be a better way to do it.” You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
Ysursa defended the Land Board’s decision, which calls for rent increases of 54 percent over the next five years. The only reason the rents aren’t at full market value now, he said, is because the entire Land Board has repeatedly voted for one-year freezes in rents. “To then turn around and hit ‘em with an astronomical increase in one year, I just did not think that was fair,” Ysursa said. A month ago, the Land Board voted to look into possibly selling or trading the cabin sites to get the state endowment out of the business of renting lots on which people own their own buildings; the state Lands Department will report back with a plan in a year.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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