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The Idaho Legislature's week in photos, 2/9/09-2/13/09
State Tax Commission Chairman Royce Chigbrow tells lawmakers that Idaho's tax system is based on "voluntary" payments, which bring in 95 percent of income tax payments, while just a small amount comes from audit and collections. However, he said the audit presence is what brings about the "voluntary" compliance. This year, the Tax Commission cut 58 year-round temporary positions due to budget holdback, potentially endangering $7.5 million in collections. Some of those have come back temporarily for the tax season.
Betsy Russell The Spokesman-Review
Idaho state Commerce Director Don Dietrich defends his agency's move to cut state funding for rural economic development grants to cope with budget holdbacks. Lawmakers questioned why he didn't cut agency operations instead, 2/10/09
Idaho State Liquor Dispensary Superintendent Dyke Nally tells lawmakers that liquor sales in Idaho are up, though consumption remains low. It appears to be a "recession-proof business," he said.
Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, chairwoman of the House Transportation Committee, presides over the panel as it agrees unanimously to introduce Gov. Butch Otter's transportation package.
Gov. Butch Otter, his right arm in a sling, returns to the legislative battlefield after shoulder surgery, urging lawmakers to approve his transportation proposal. The plan includes increases in the gas tax and car and truck registration fees. 2/10/09
Former state Rep. Wayne Meyer, R-Rathdrum, who died this week at age 59 of colon cancer. In this photo, Meyer, one of the last grass seed farmers on the Rathdrum Prairie and a former state legislator, jokes with family members while clambering into a tractor on May 4, 2007, near Rathdrum.
Jesse Tinsley The Spokesman-Review
Nine-term Rep. Lenore Barrett, R-Challis, tells a House committee to introduce her measure calling for getting wolf delisting back on track. Amid laughter, Barrett threatened to fire a pencil or toss her shoe at representatives if they didn't agree to introduce the measure; the vote to introduce it was unanimous.
This photo of Idaho's historic statue of Abraham Lincoln, which dates back to 1915, is shown last June before it was restored and moved to a higher-profile location just south of the state Capitol. The newly refurbished statue is scheduled to be unveiled in a grand ceremony at noon on Feb. 12, Lincoln's 200th birthday. Idaho schoolchildren raised $3,000 in a "Pennies for Lincoln" campaign to help fund the project.
Idaho Transportation Director Pam Lowe addresses the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee during a three-hour hearing on the ITD's budget, 2/12/09
House Education Chairman Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, proposes permanent changes in Idaho state laws to allow cuts to public education. The House Education Committee voted 11-5 to introduce Nonini's two bills, and plans three days of joint hearings with the Senate Education Committee on them starting on Monday.
House Assistant Minority Leader James Ruchti, D-Pocatello, criticizes new legislation that would make permanent changes in state laws to allow cuts in education, 2/12/09
Idaho's newly restored and relocated Lincoln monument is unveiled in downtown Boise, 2/12/09
Rep. Dick Harwood, R-St. Maries, tries unsuccessfully to persuade the House Environment Committee to repeal last year's landmark air quality vehicle emission testing legislation, 2/12/09
Vice President Joe Biden arrives in Boise to attend the Special Olympics pairs figure skating competition and visit with athletes on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009. Biden is leading a delegation to the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho.
Matt Cilley Ap Photo
Legislative budget writers gather for an early-morning briefing about possible new budget cuts.
Members of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee consider additional state budget cuts, 2/13/09
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