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Voters to decide on three constitutional amendments in November

There are three constitutional amendments regarding long-term municipal debt on the November ballot, all approved overwhelmingly by the state Legislature in the wake of the Frazier decision, in which the Idaho Supreme Court in 2006 crimped such borrowing without a public vote. The three are specifically for debt for public hospitals, airports, and city-owned electric systems, and none of the debt could be against tax dollars. In today's Times-News, reporter Ben Botkin takes a look at the three amendments and interviews an opponent - Frazier - and a backer of the measures, legislative sponsor Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley; you can read his piece here. Also, mayors from across the state have sent out a press release and set up a website regarding the airport measure, with mayors from Idaho Falls to Nampa to Coeur d'Alene speaking out about the needs of their local airports; click below to read their full release. You can read opponent Frazier's white paper about the amendments here.

Association of Idaho Cities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE         CONTACT:  Ken Harward, Executive Director

September 1, 2010                                                     Association of Idaho Cities
New Website Provides Information on Proposed Idaho Airport Constitutional Amendment

Idaho voters now have an informational resource to help them consider a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution related to financing for airport improvements. (, a new website created as part of an education and public outreach effort undertaken by the City of Boise using revenue from airport operations, contains background on House Joint Resolution 5 (HJR 5), a proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution. The website includes the Idaho legislative history of the ballot issue, pro and con statements about the proposed amendment, facts about Idaho’s major airports and a series of Frequently Asked Questions. Economic information at the site is drawn directly from a recent Idaho Transportation Department study of the economic impacts of Idaho’s public airports.

The Association of Idaho Cities (AIC) is helping to publicize the website statewide. AIC Executive Director Ken Harward said airports and their role in the Idaho economy are important to all Idahoans. “AIC hopes Idahoans will become well-informed about the issues and then make up their own minds after considering the facts, including the pros and cons of HJR 5,” Harward said.

“On November 2, Idaho voters will make up their own minds about HJR 5,” Boise Mayor David H. Bieter said. “This website is a key element of the educational outreach efforts that will help Idaho voters make an informed decision at the polls. Boise Airport is a major economic driver that handles about 3 million passengers and facilitates hundreds of millions of dollars of business each year.  It also hosts our military at Gowen Field and the National Interagency Fire Center and the jobs they provide.  Idaho voters need to understand the importance of HJR 5 when they enter the polling booth 60 days from now.”

Other mayors across Idaho agree with the need to provide educational materials to voters before the November General Election.

Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman said, “The Idaho Falls Regional Airport is a vital transportation link for the businesses and residents in this part of the state.  It is important that Eastern Idahoans are prepared to cast their vote on HJR 5 in November. is a great place to go to find out what they need to know.”

“Pappy Boyington Field provides key benefits to Coeur d’Alene residents and those in the surrounding communities. is a needed, welcome resource for our voters,” said Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem.

Lewiston Mayor Kevin Poole encourages all north central Idaho residents to peruse and determine for themselves how it could impact the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport.  “Our airport gives us access to other destinations and brings folks here to enjoy all that this region has to offer,” he said. “We need it to be the best it can be.”

According to Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, the Nampa Municipal Airport has been an integral part of the city for eighty years. “Its continued success is a leading indicator of the city’s future. I hope all Nampa residents take a few minutes to learn about HJR 5 and envision the future of our airport and city,” Mayor Dale said.

“The voters’ decision on HJR 5 in November will be important to Joslin Field-Magic Valley Regional Airport,” said Twin Falls Mayor Don Hall.  “I hope all Magic Valley residents spend a few minutes at”

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad noted that the Pocatello Regional Airport plays an important role in the success of Idaho State University as well as his city and all of southeastern Idaho.  “I encourage voters to look at to answer for themselves whether adoption of this amendment will be good or bad for their airports, cities, and far-reaching enterprises like ISU.”

AIC hopes voters across the state will use the website to develop their own positions on the issue and that the educational effort will encourage Idahoans to evaluate and vote on the proposed Constitutional amendment on the November ballot.


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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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