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‘New Guy’ Changes State Budget Laws Governor Signs Bill Proposed By Clark

Thu., March 26, 1998

Two days after adjournment, Hayden Rep. Jim Clark is celebrating his legislative triumphs and scheming to revive his failed attempts at new laws.

On Tuesday, Gov. Phil Batt signed the Republican freshman’s most significant bill, which forces the state to sock away money for budget shortfalls.

The bill creates a budget stabilization fund. In any year when state revenues grow by more than 4 percent, 1 percent of the general fund budget automatically would be transferred to the new rainy day fund.

“We should have a budget reserve fund,” Batt said. “There’s no question, most other states do.”

The automatic deposits would end when the fund totals 5 percent of the state budget.

“I just think it interesting that a new guy would be involved in changing the whole budget system in the state of Idaho,” Clark said. “So when people say can you make a difference - sure you can if you have a good idea.”

Clark introduced 11 bills during the 71-day session. Four measures made it past the governor’s desk and into state law. The other three bills clean up local election laws, allow local governments to deposit more money than the bank’s $150,000 federal guarantee and reduces the amount of time National Guard members have to wait to obtain an in-state hunting and fishing license from six months to 30 days.

The other seven bills were either pulled by Clark or died in committee.

“Timing and luck has a lot to do with getting public policy issues through,” Clark said. “I think we got an awful lot done in this Legislature.”

Rep. Hilde Kellogg, R-Post Falls, sat with Clark on the House Revenue and Taxation Committee, which debated many of his proposals. Kellogg said the success of freshmen legislators depends on their motivation. “Some people take two years to get themselves oriented,” she said. “Other people just go down with ideas.”

If re-elected, Clark vows to revive his dead proposals.

One priority is a measure that would create drunken driving charges for snowmobilers. Clark said he needs to iron out the sections applying to underage drivers.

He also wants to reintroduce a bill that would double the state-issued tax credit given for contributors to education and nonprofit organizations, such as colleges, state libraries and foundations. Clark said the amount hasn’t been raised since 1976, when the tax credit was authorized.

“They’re all good ideas,” Clark said. “Just the language has to be fixed.”

, DataTimes


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