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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

After much debate, House passes energy bills

House members vociferously tried to kill HB 347, the renewable energy tax credit extension, but it passed on a 40-29 vote after much debate. House Majority Caucus Chair Ken Roberts, R-Donnelly, urged representatives to kill the bill. "This industry will survive just fine without it," he said. Rep. Ken Andrus, R-Lava Hot Springs, said, "Keep that money in the state budget - we've got a lot of use for that money in the state budget, you know that. We could use it very beneficially." Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, said, "I have voted against this thing so many times I've lost count. It keeps coming back with a different bathing suit but it's still the same flabby body."

Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, said, "I'm from North Idaho and I haven't seen a lot of wind turbines up there." But she said she thought taxpayers would pay for wind turbines many times over, between federal and state incentives. Plus, she said, "I can assure you one day we'll have to tear all these down. Please vote no." Rep. Bill Killen, D-Boise, noted that the bill already passed the House once when it was in one piece rather than two. The money can't be spent elsewhere, he said, because the rebate is only from taxes generated by the power projects, he said; without the projects, there's no money.

Then, at the urging of House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, the House voted 67-2 to pass HB 348, the second piece of the energy compromise, with only Barrett and Sims voting no. At that point, the House adjourned for the night.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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