The governor’s transportation funding task force also has agreed to support a legislative task force’s recommendation to permanently restore to the Idaho Department of Parks & Recreation the 3 percent share of gas taxes that it’s long been receiving for trails, reflecting the amount of gas that’s burned off-road in ATV’s, boats, snowmobiles and the like. An end-of-session compromise on transportation funding two years ago sought to shift that money to ITD, but lawmakers then agreed to put that off until July 1, 2011; this recommendation would reverse it permanently, should the Legislature follow it. Task force members said there’s no need for them to address how to fund the Idaho State Police as a legislative task force will address that; they were the other, larger piece of that funding shift. The task force agreed that that portion of the shift should continue.
When Lt. Gov. Brad Little asked for unanimous consent to all items in the task force’s final resolution, only Rep. Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, objected. “OK, with one objection they’re accepted,” Little said.
“Task force members, I think our work is done,” Little told the panel. He added, “One of the things that makes Idaho a great state and makes us very competitive is how hard it is to raise taxes.” But he said being proactive to address major needs also distinguishes the state, versus other states that end up having to do things like release prison inmates due to budget shortfalls. “Frankly I’m very pleased at how things came out today,” Little said. “I think we’ve come up with a roadmap. I think we’ve acknowledged how difficult it’s going to be.”