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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 1, 2006

FRIDAY, FEB. 10, 2006

'It's cranking up'

The formal reading of bills across the desk in the House this morning went on – and on. At its end, House Speaker Bruce Newcomb commented, “We just read another 33 bills across the desk. I just went through 33 more bills that are just…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 9, 2006

Feels like the first time

The vote in the House Rev & Tax Committee to send a bill increasing the homeowner’s exemption to the full House with a “do-pass” recommendation – with only one committee member dissenting – is historic. Since 1982, similar legislation has been proposed in 11 different…

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Property tax issue making headway

Both the House Rev & Tax Chair, Rep. Dolores Crow, R-Nampa, and Rep. Dennis Lake, the co-chair of an interim committee on property taxes, say they’re thrilled that there’s been so much progress this week toward addressing property tax issues in the Legislature.“I think it’s…

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School funding shift fails on 7-12 vote

After long and heartfelt debate – including many compliments for Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, for his creativity in fashioning HB 505 to replace all property tax funds for school operations with a 1 cent sales tax increase – the bill went down on a 7-12…

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How about a property tax break for developers?

Subdivision developers in the state’s three most-populated counties would get a big property tax break, under legislation introduced Tuesday morning in the House Rev & Tax Committee. The bill “puts a legitimate process in place for developers to be assessed and taxed on lots they…

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TUESDAY, FEB. 7, 2006

‘We’re a budget-driven body here’

The state budget, the school facilities lawsuit, increased school enrollment, the sale of Albertson’s – all were discussed by the Senate Majority Caucus behind closed doors, according to Caucus Chair Brad Little, R-Emmett. “Since the governor developed his budget, things have changed,” Little said.He said…

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MONDAY, FEB. 6, 2006

Bill introduced to end field-burning secrecy

Locations of upcoming field burns would no longer be state secrets in Idaho, under legislation introduced in a House committee this afternoon. “This was requested by our sheriff and our emergency services,” said Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, who’s sponsoring the bill along with Sen. Shawn…

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FRIDAY, FEB. 3, 2006

'Rumor that this is a political process'

The state Change in Employee Compensation Committee, a panel of legislators charged with recommending how much state employees should get in raises next year, met in a hastily called session today, with the aim of recommending more money – possibly another 2 percent, on top…

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Issues speeding along, including trucks

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, missed the vote on introducing the higher truck speed limit bill in committee yesterday because she’d been called by leadership into a meeting on budget issues. “And I missed Health and Welfare because we were meeting on school facilities,” said a…

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THURSDAY, FEB. 2, 2006

He’s tooling along, getting passed

The Idaho Transportation Department had just finished briefing the Senate Transportation Committee on the process it goes through to set speed limits in Idaho, when Committee Chairman Skip Brandt, R-Kooskia, had this question about a 55 mph stretch of Highway 55 near Shadow Valley Golf…

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No time to bother with public testimony

The House Resources Committee today voted to send a memorial to Congress calling for allowing helicopters to land in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness for the purpose of putting radio collars on wolves. Normally, of course, wilderness areas are places where motorized vehicles…

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Would we head for the ocean?

Rep. Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, had a quick comeback to Judith Brown of the Idaho Center on Budget and Tax Policy, when she told lawmakers this morning that Idaho actually ranks low compared to other states in local government spending, and therefore shouldn’t further limit local…

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He pushed and pushed 'til she snapped

Chuck Thomas, head of Citizens for Annexation Reform, finally pushed it too far at the property tax hearing this morning. Thomas has testified repeatedly to the House Rev & Tax Committee on various property tax bills over the past three days, usually returning to the…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 31, 2006

MONDAY, JAN. 30, 2006

Overwhelming support at property tax hearing

Here’s my tally: 23 people testified before the House Rev & Tax Committee this morning, six of them twice, and only one out of the whole group opposed increasing the homeowner’s exemption or expanding the circuit-breaker exemption for low-income seniors. That was Idaho Farm Bureau…

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Someone was there to fix things

In a crowded elevator at Boise City Hall on the way up to the House Rev & Tax Committee’s hearing this morning, a well-dressed woman asked, “I assume we’re all going to the property tax hearing?” “I think that’s a good bet,” responded Dan John,…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 27, 2006

Secretary of State to investigate Reberger

The Associated Press just reported this scoop: Secretary of State Ben Ysursa has opened a formal inquiry into whether Phil Reberger, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s former chief of staff, violated Idaho lobbying law when he met with a state legislator earlier this month over a disputed…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 26, 2006

It seems that boo-boos happen

Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, a longtime radio broadcaster, told state schools Superintendent Marilyn Howard this morning that he’d heard on the radio that the high school redesign plan was being put off a year, and he wondered what was up. “I’d like an update…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 25, 2006

Sharp words for governor’s proposal

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s community college initiative raised all kinds of questions in JFAC this morning, to the point that at the end of the hearing, Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, said, “I don’t feel like we’ve even scratched the surface yet.” Much more discussion…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 24, 2006

Setting the UI president straight

Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, took issue when University of Idaho President Tim White told legislative budget writers today that higher education provides great benefits to the economy, the environment, security and society. “In my community, we have four people, the only thing they got…

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