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Eye On Boise

Speaker Bedke: ‘If we’re going to spend money, we probably oughta have a public hearing’

The first bill to come out of committee and hit the House floor this session has stalled. HB 1, the annual IRS tax code conformity bill, was voted out of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee last Thursday and sent directly to the 2ndReading Calendar of the House without the usual step of holding a public hearing on the measure in committee. Idaho passes a bill each year to adjust its tax provisions to match IRS codes to avoid making taxpayers recalculate things between their state and federal returns, but sometimes the measures are controversial, and sometimes the state chooses not to match all the IRS provisions. This year’s bill has a fiscal impact of $6 million on the state general fund, meaning the state will collect that much less after conforming its tax provisions.

The bill is being “held at the desk” in the House, which means that the speaker has halted it. Asked about the move, House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said, “It came straight to the 2nd reading, and it expends money. … If we’re going to spend money, we probably oughta have a public hearing.” Bedke said he’s probably going to send the bill back to the committee for a hearing.

Later in the day, when the House convened, Bedke did just that. He said afterward that other House members had questions about the bill. “The new people were paying attention, and they had some questions,” he said. “I think it's best we get in the habit of, we have a hearing. We've got time.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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