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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2006

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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Putting it away for a rainy day

Here’s how House Appropriations Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, described HB 409, the bill to put $70 million into the state’s rainy-day fund, also called the budget stabilization fund: “We’re finally to the point where we can stop robbing and start putting something back.”Her opening debate…

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MONDAY, JAN. 23, 2006

The meaning of life

Sen. Mel Richardson, R-Idaho Falls, had this question today in the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting: “I just kind of want to know, what is the meaning of life? … What does life mean?”It actually wasn’t a philosophical question – Richardson was wondering whether Attorney General…

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Only two reps oppose state employee raises

The House just voted 60-2 in favor of immediate, merit-based raises for state employees averaging 3 percent. The bill had earlier passed the Senate unanimously.The two House members who were against it? Reps. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, and JoAn Wood, R-Rigby. Eight other House members missed…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2006

Luci's crystal ball

The prediction of the week award has to go to State Board of Education spokeswoman Luci Willits, who, on the eve of votes in the House and Senate Education committees on the board’s high school curriculum redesign, said it would be close in both houses.She…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 19, 2006

They let Dell do it

House Rev & Tax members are chortling over how they got Rep. Dell Raybould, R-Rexburg, to make the motion this morning to introduce a property tax reform bill that closes a tax loophole for developers and land speculators. The loophole opened after Raybould originally brought…

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And this one WASN'T unanimous

The House Education Committee this morning deadlocked 9-9 on the state Board of Education’s “high school redesign” plan to beef up the state’s high school curriculum and graduation requirements. That caused a flurry of confusion and dismay before lawmakers determined that the result was that…

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The new property tax bills

Here are the 12 new property tax bills just introduced in the House:• HB 418, sponsored by House Tax Chair Dolores Crow, R-Nampa; Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake; and Rep. Mike Moyle, R-Star; to replace half the property tax funding for schools with money from…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 18, 2006

He doesn't like what they said last Tuesday

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne today inexplicably released a rebuttal to comments last Tuesday – the day after his State of the State message – by Democratic legislative leaders critical of his proposed $50-a-head energy rebate.“I fully expected a rational discussion on my proposal to provide immediate…

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It's cheerful, colorful and crowded

It’s “Buy Idaho” day today, which means the capitol rotunda, on three floors, is packed with displays and free samples of Idaho products, from huckleberry hand lotion to potent salsas to pickled dilly beans. Legislators are among the happy crowds checking out and trying the…

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TUESDAY, JAN. 17, 2006

Sorry to disappoint the kid, but...

Over the weekend, I watched “Idaho Reports” with my 12-year-old son, and he distinctly heard the governor promise to send a $50 check to every “man, woman and child” in Idaho. He perked right up. “I’m a child,” he said. “I want my 50 bucks!”I…

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First property tax discussion is a wild one

People spilled out into the hallway and packed into the doorway as the House Revenue & Taxation Committee held its first discussion of the session on property taxes this morning. The interim committee that held a dozen hearings around the state and heard from 1,500…

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MONDAY, JAN. 16, 2006

MLK Day draws crowds to Capitol

The Statehouse was brimming with people lobbying, applauding, waving signs and standing up for human rights on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.-Idaho Human Rights Day.Joe McNeal V, age 11, read from King’s famous “I have a dream” speech as part of the…

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Why they did it

Wonder why the Legislature adopted the governor’s revenue projections, when their own estimates were $43.7 million higher for the current fiscal year and $77.3 million higher for next year?“Taking a cautious approach was warranted in this case,” said Rep. Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “If we have…

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FRIDAY, JAN. 13, 2006

Two big pieces of Guv's agenda clear JFAC - unanimously

Two giant pieces of Gov. Dirk Kempthorne’s agenda for this year’s legislative session cleared the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee this morning on unanimous votes – giving state employees an immediate, permanent, merit-based pay raise averaging 3 percent, and depositing a big chunk of the state’s budget…

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THURSDAY, JAN. 12, 2006

Lawmakers more optimistic than governor - initially

The Legislature's Economic Outlook Committee's median revenue estimate was $77.3 million more than Gov. Dirk Kempthorne's figure - but then the committee voted 7-2 to adopt the governor's more conservative numbers anyway. The number matters, because it's the basis for setting the state budget for…

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Bleary-eyed Demos say it was good

Democrats are bleary-eyed in the state Capitol this morning, after many boarded a bus early yesterday afternoon for Pocatello and didn’t return until close to 2 a.m. The Democratic Party was holding its Stallings Banquet, with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Senate minority…

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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11, 2006

Bogert to serve on Basin Commission

Michael Bogert, former legal counsel to Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, has been staying away from Idaho issues he dealt with here in his new job as the regional head of the EPA in Seattle. But now, Bogert has been named the federal representative on the Coeur…

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