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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Otter willing to wait on grocery tax?

Gov. Butch Otter today, for the first time, sounded ready to let the grocery tax relief issue go for this year. “My bill wasn’t going to take effect until 2008,” he said. “What I’m saying is that we could get busy in early January next year, use this next 10 months to kind of get the wrinkles worked out of our tax relief package … and be ready to hit it hard next January.”

His comments came after a bill-signing ceremony for the Board of Education budget bill – and on the eve of a scheduled vote in the House on whether to override his veto of HB 81a, the across-the-board grocery tax relief bill that lawmakers in both houses overwhelmingly approved. Otter’s been holding out for his targeted plan to give the relief just to the low-income. If legislators want to override his veto, he said, “That’s their prerogative.”

Lawmakers who campaigned for election with grocery tax relief as a top issue – and promised the folks back home they’d deliver – aren’t excited about waiting a year. “If we don’t override his veto, none of us go home with anything,” said Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene. Said House Speaker Lawerence Denney, “It’s just another debate on the floor at this point – we either override or we don’t. … The caucus is pretty adamant that they want to try it.”

Eye On Boise

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