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Eye On Boise

More clashes in conference committee: ‘Smoke and mirrors,’ ‘Trying to save face’

After a brief break, the conference committee has reconvened. Sen. Dean Cameron said he has comments in response to those before the break from Rep. Joe Palmer. “I’m not interested in surviving an election,” Cameron said. “I’m interested in doing the right thing, and doing the right thing means truthfully addressing the problem, not by smoke and mirrors. … We came to the session knowing that we had two major problems, the first being education and paying our teachers.” That was addressed, and the resulting legislation has costs that will grow in the future, he said.

“The speaker’s own letter, the pro-tem’s letter, said we were here to address amendments to HB 312,” Cameron said. “But to go back and talk about HB 311, to go back and talk about some of the other issues, that’s not a path forward, that’s backward. We’ve already talked about it. Is the Senate willing to consider income tax relief in the future? Absolutely. We want to do it in a meaningful, appropriate, responsible way.” He said the same goes for grocery tax relief. But, he said, “Not as some last-minute, last-ditch effort for somebody to save face. That’s not our method of operating. We don’t manipulate our members to vote one way or another, we let them vote their conscience.”

Palmer interrupted, “I object to that. I don’t think anyone here is trying to save face.” Chairman Bert Brackett cautioned both Cameron and Palmer to choose their words more carefully.

Cameron said, “I’m not here to discuss the pros and cons of those other tax proposals, because that’s not our charge. Our charge is to raise revenue. So if you’re willing to raise $100 to $120 million of revenue, how do you do that?”



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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