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House Highlights, 29 January 2007

January 30th, 2007 by Halli

By Tom Loertscher
It doesn’t happen very often to me but from time to time I get a song in
my head and it goes around and around and just keeps surfacing. Recently I
thought of a song I heard in the sixties sung by Edith Piaf, a French
singer that was called the “Sparrow of Paris.” I hadn’t heard the song “No
Regrets” in a long time but it kept running through my mind. At long last
I was able to locate the song and listen to it. No regrets is a story for
another time.

Another thing that has been running through my memory this past week is
what a friend and former colleague has been telling me for years, “There
is no right way to do the wrong thing.” It came to mind several times
during some of the discussions that have arisen over new legislation that
will be coming to the House floor for debate. The item that has drawn the
most attention the past two weeks has been the hold placed on the Capitol
expansion project by the Governor. Compromise was in the air and it has
been settled. Now instead of two story wings they will consist of just one
level. Well I suppose that’s only half as bad as the original idea but for
some reason I get little comfort from it. Don’t get me wrong it would be
nice, but I just think the empty buildings across the street would do just
fine.

A new state program for inspecting underground fuel tanks has been
introduced, that is being advocated on the basis that it will give the
State control of the inspections and certifications. This of course would
be to keep the Federal Environmental Protection Agency at bay and would
supposedly be more “customer” friendly. It doesn’t put me at ease however,
because our track record on other such matters is not the greatest. The
legislation will provide early on for the further expansion of the
Department of Environmental Quality. Just what we need, more government
— more state government, to enforce federal regulations. And that quote
just keeps coming up again and again.

Internet sales tax made its way out of the House Revenue and Taxation
committee by way of Idaho participating in an interstate agreement to
collect for other states as well. This is an old idea that has never made
it to the full House before. There is bound to be red tape for Idaho
businesses that sell over the internet. Collecting our own sales tax is
one thing but collecting and reporting for other states is quite another.
And what about other states that have no sales tax, how do we collect
there? How many new auditors will this new process necessitate? These are
just some of the questions. I’m leaning towards a “No” on this one, and I
just keep hearing those words, “No right way —-.”

In State Affairs, what is in committee is greatly overshadowed by what is
yet to come. Some of the major issues are yet to be introduced. One bill
that was introduced was one to change the definition of dessert wine along
with a not so innocent change of what is a catered event, and where they
can be held and what licensing is required. One new committee member
commented that it looked like a rather innocent change to him. I urged him
to take the novel approach of reading the bill a little more carefully,
the change doesn’t look all that innocent to me. Now how does that go? “No
—-.”

I’ve just proof read the above and good grief, I must sound a bit like the
worlds biggest pessimist. I don’t think so. I’m just looking for the right
way to do the right thing.

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Property Rights, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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