Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, got a surprise last month when former state Rep. Max Black, a gifted woodworker, and an array of others, including Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill, presented her with a custom-made gavel carved in the shape of a woman’s shoe. It was a reminder of when Keough was co-chairing an interim tax committee in 2005, and at a raucous hearing in the Sandpoint High School auditorium, famously slipped off her navy-blue pump and banged it on a table for lack of a gavel to quiet the unruly crowd.
“It was a tense moment at the time,” Keough recalled with a smile. “As time goes on, you look back and go, ‘Oh, that was kind of fun.’ It’s that North Idaho inventiveness, where you just use the tools you’ve got available.” The very same issue that riled up that Sandpoint crowd – the adequacy of the homeowner’s exemption from property taxes, and whether various types of property taxpayers in Idaho are paying their fair share – is under debate again this year. Last night, the Senate voted 23-11 with Keough and several other North Idaho senators in opposition, to remove the inflation indexing from the homeowner’s exemption/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. Full story here.