BOISE — The state of Idaho has placed liens on two businesses owned by State Sen. Jack Noble, who is also facing an inquiry from a Senate Ethics Committee.
Noble has allegedly failed to pay more than $10,000 in unpaid sales and use taxes and $934 in unpaid unemployment insurance taxes for his Melba convenience store, Jacksmart, and Kuna-based Moo Brew Inc.
The sales and use tax lien is dated Nov. 24, 2004. The two unemployment insurance liens are from Jan. 25 and Feb. 11.
Efforts by the Associated Press to reach Noble, or his wife Tracy, listed as a co-owner of both businesses, were unsuccessful Saturday.
Sales taxes are collected by the state and distributed to the state’s general fund. Similarly, use taxes are sales taxes paid on purchases made out of state.
The maximum penalty for failure to remit taxes is five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Meanwhile Noble faces a continuing review from a six-member Senate Ethics Committee — formed to investigate a possible conflict of interest about a bill he wrote.
On Feb. 4, Noble, a two-term Kuna Republican, presented a bill that would have revised the way distances are calculated between schools and contracted retail liquor stores. The bill failed in committee.
As the law is written now, Noble’s store, Jacksmart, would not qualify for a state liquor store contract. Under his proposed legislation Noble’s store would qualify for a state liquor contract.
The ethics committee met for the second time Thursday, where he was confronted with contradictory testimony that he was aware a State Liquor Dispensary rule precluded him, as a state legislator, from obtaining a state contract to sell packaged liquor. He argued that if he couldn’t get a liquor contract, he would have no conflict of interest in trying to pass the legislation.
However, various news media, including The Associated Press, have recorded statements of Noble as recently as last Friday saying he could have gotten a state liquor contract with or without his legislation.
Additionally, Noble later acknowledged that his convenience store was for sale and that his store might be more valuable if it were licensed to sell liquor.
He said he “could have misled” the ethics committee with his remarks.
The committee will reconvene Wednesday to discuss whether ethics laws were broken.
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