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Otter expresses concerns to lawmakers about two bills, but still signs them…

Gov. Butch Otter today sent two transmittal letters to lawmakers, noting bills that he had signed into law, but with caveats. They included HB 315, the personal property tax relief bill, which exempts the first $100,000 in business equipment from the tax in each county, for each taxpayer. “This legislation is a good and important start toward the goal of eliminating the personal property tax in Idaho,” Otter wrote. “However, it is only a start. … For now, please accept my thanks for working through a complex and potentially divisive issue and for delivering this legislation to my desk. It is welcome relief for most Idaho businesses.”

The other letter was about HB 192, a bill that passed both houses unanimously to create a new, optional enhanced concealed weapons permit that requires more training than a regular permit, but would be recognized in more states. “The intent of this bill is laudable,” Otter wrote. “However, it is important to note as I sign this legislation that its fiscal note was inadequate to address the actual costs that the Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho State Police will face in its implementation. The agencies estimate they will be required to shoulder unfunded one-time costs totaling more than $80,000 – a particular burden when our budgets already are so close to the bone – plus ongoing annual costs of more than $1,500 to integrate this new permit into existing computer systems.”

He wrote, “I encourage the Legislature to be more forthcoming and thorough in its assessment of the fiscal impact of legislative actions on our state agencies and, ultimately, on our taxpayers.”

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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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