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Eye On Boise

THURSDAY, MARCH 27, 2008

Governor lashes back at lawmakers with veto

Gov. Butch Otter has issued another line-item veto, this time scratching out the funding for the Legislative Services Office for technology upgrades and to purchase 108 laptop computers next year for use by legislators. Though he doesn’t mention it in his veto message, the swipe...

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Craig-Wyden replacement bill passes Senate

The Senate has voted 34-1 for legislation to provide a “safety net” to Idaho school districts that will lose out if Congress doesn’t reauthorize so-called “Craig-Wyden” timber replacement funds. Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, said any congressional action, if it takes place, likely wouldn’t get school...

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ITD audit bill passes the Senate

The Senate has voted 31-2 in favor of HCR 50, to launch a $550,000 performance audit of the Idaho Transportation Department. “We want to dig into what is happening out at the Department of Transportation so that we all feel more confident when the time...

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Child death review bill killed

A Senate committee chairwoman has blocked legislation that would have ended Idaho's distinction as the only state in the nation with no system for reviewing child deaths. Senate Health and Welfare Chairwoman Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston, said Idaho doesn't need to review child deaths if...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 2008

Senate backs repeal of unused tax exemption

The Senate has voted 25-10 for HB 661, a measure to repeal a never-used tax incentive bill enacted in 2005 to try to entice Albertson’s grocery store chain to keep its headquarters in Idaho. It didn’t. “Idaho’s a great place to do business,” said Sen....

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$68.5 million transportation bill headed to House

The House Ways & Means Committee has voted unanimously to both introduce and send to the full House a $68.5 million transportation funding bill. The measure increases car registration fees by $23.5 million, fees for light trucks and trailers by $6.7 million, heavy truck fees...

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Senate overrides governor’s veto

The Idaho Senate has voted 30-5 to override Gov. Butch Otter’s line-item veto of substance-abuse treatment funds in SB 1458, a supplemental appropriation in which Otter axed $2.4 million for treatment in the current budget year. “We believe that we can show that the money...

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A few would gain a lot...

Under HB 599, the proposed repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment, 18 percent of the 53,718 Idaho businesses that now pay the tax would get 95 percent of the benefit, which translates to slightly over $110 million in tax relief for 9,887...

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TUESDAY, MARCH 25, 2008

Something to celebrate

The Statehouse press corps was outside the Capitol Annex just now, puffing on cigars. It wasn’t that the session had ended (though that’d be cause for celebration too). It was the arrival of little Rachel Ann Miller, 6 pounds, 15 ounces, daughter of AP reporter...

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Local-option amendment waiting...

The Senate State Affairs Committee this morning began its consideration of HJR 4, the constitutional amendment to limit local-option taxes, but ran out of time after the first presenter, House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. Meanwhile, the House Revenue & Taxation Committee this morning...

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'Trust us, trust us'

After four hours of testimony, almost all of it against the bill, Sen. Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, explained why he was supporting HB 599 anyway, to phase in a repeal of the personal property tax on business equipment: “To me, this is a start – I...

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MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2008

GARVEE bonding wins final passage

The legislation to do the next round of GARVEE bonding for the “Connecting Idaho” highway construction program has passed the Senate, 29-6. The bill, HB 657, already had passed the House and now goes to Gov. Butch Otter, who made it a top priority as...

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No Senate vote on ITD audit today

The Senate just announced that it won’t go into its 10th order today – and that’s where the resolution for an audit of the Idaho Transportation Department is sitting, waiting for a Senate vote. That’s the measure the House wants approved before it agrees to...

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FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2008


Another veto from the governor

Gov. Butch Otter has vetoed another bill, this time a rather minor one from the state Department of Education that sought to give employees there the option to take Christmas Eve and the day after Thanksgiving as state holidays instead of the established holidays of...

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Local-option tax amendment passes House

A constitutional amendment to impose new limits on future local-option sales taxes in Idaho, including requiring a two-thirds supermajority at a November general election and requiring the votes to be by county, just passed the House on a 51-19 vote – which meets the two-thirds...

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New report: Substance abuse programs on track

According to a new report from the state Office of Performance Evaluations, new efforts to create tracking of data and outcomes from statewide substance abuse services in Idaho are on track and meeting recommendations made in two earlier performance evaluations. However, late yesterday, Gov. Butch...

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THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2008

Governor vetoes substance-abuse treatment funds

Gov. Butch Otter has issued his first veto of the legislative session – using his line-item veto to nix $16.8 million in substance-abuse treatment funding, a top priority that numerous lawmakers have been working on for several years. “There is no question that we need...

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ITD audit bill wins Senate committee support

Legislation calling for a $550,000 outside performance evaluation of the Idaho Transportation Department cleared the Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon on a unanimous vote, buoying House members who are insisting on the audit as a condition for going along with revenue bills to raise more...

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Grocery tax credit hike passes Senate

A move to send the grocery tax relief bill to the amending order failed 10-25, and then the Senate voted 27-8 in favor of the bill, sending it to the governor’s desk. The move to amend was for fear of the out-years financial impact of...

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What's left of the big review...

Here’s a link to my story in today’s paper about what’s become of the big push to review all of Idaho’s tax breaks and see whether they’re still warranted, called for by a joint legislative interim committee. At this point, it’s down to three bills...

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WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2008

State retiree benefit cut passes Senate

A plan to cap medical benefits for current state retirees and eliminate medical retirement benefits for future hires passed the Senate late today after a heated debate, on a 23-10 vote. The bill, SB 1447, now moves to the House. Click below to read the...

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Rammell: 'Jim Risch is too old'

Here’s an item from the Associated Press: Former elk rancher Rex Rammell has shed his Republican ties and will run for U.S. Senate as an independent because he says his former party has anointed Lt. Gov. Jim Risch as its chosen candidate. Rammell, 47, who...

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Personal property tax bill amended

The House has approved an array of amendments to HB 599, the personal property tax repeal, but defeated one to cap the break at $50,000 in value for each business. That move would have cut the eventual cost of the business tax break from more...

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.