The conference committee has taken four straw polls in a row, and all failed on 4-2 votes, with just Reps. Joe Palmer and John Vander Woude objecting, except for the final one, with just Palmer and Vander Woude supported.
The first proposal, from Sen. Roy Lacey, D-Pocatello, encapsulated everything the committee had agreed on so far, plus a phased-in 10 cent gas tax increase, as proposed by the Senate; it would raise $114 million for road work. It failed 4-2. The second, from Sen. Dean Cameron, was the same but with a 9-cent gas tax increase, to raise $105 million; it had the same result. The third, from Cameron again had an 8-cent gas tax increase and would raise just $95 million. That, too, failed 4-2.
After several comments about Palmer and Vander Woude objecting but making no proposals of their own, Vander Woude made one. He proposed a 7-cent phased-in gas tax increase, removing the change in how gaseous fuels are taxed, and directing all surplus eliminator funds to the Idaho Transportation Department, cutting out local highway jurisdictions from being able to apply for that money. “The locals … would be cut out of the general fund money?” Sen. Bert Brackett asked. “Correct,” Vander Woude said. That proposal would raise roughly $86 million a year. It failed, with only Vander Woude and Palmer supporting it. The committee then went at ease.