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Guest Post: House Highlights 26 March 2007

March 27th, 2007 by Halli

While I was serving my active duty in the Army, it seemed like our company thrived on the rumor mill. There was a rumor to fit almost every occasion, but most of them applied to when we would be finished with our training and headed home. I remember getting my hopes up several times the worst of which was flying directly over Salt Lake without stopping while on the way to advanced training. As it pertains to the Legislature it was more than a rumor it was a target date.

We saw the big red veto stamp of Governor Otter a couple of times this week confirming strong rumors that he would be vetoing the grocery tax credit bill. He really meant it when he said that the legislature should not try to pretty it up too much. Now it becomes a battle of wills and strategy to determine the fate of the issue for this year. The Governor is stuck on targeting the credit and the legislature favors an across the board approach. The question that is in the minds of most House members is whether or not he is willing to compromise and if not are there the votes to override the veto.

The smoking ban in bowling alleys fell prey to the veto as well and is a bit reminiscent of the Govern Otter of yesteryear. He did take a jab at the legislature by calling it “social engineering” in reference to several legislators that called his tax credit bill the same. But in a larger sense it reminds me of the time Governor Andrus left town and Otter, then Lieutenant Governor, vetoed the twenty one year drinking age legislation. His other stated reason is that it interferes with private property rights, which I think to his mind is the real heart of the issue. Again to override or not override, is the question.

Rumor has it that we are about to see the so called closed primary bill again, this time coming from the Senate. State Affairs in the House having already had two false starts on the issue, it was decided by leadership to have it begin in the Senate. I haven’t seen the bill yet but again rumor has it there has been a meeting of the minds. Even though most committees’ work has been concluded in the House, State Affairs is officially standing by to consider what might reach us from the Senate.
Most of the budget has been set now with just a few things left for the House to consider, After the big to-do about the Lottery budget last week, a new bill came to us and it passed the House overwhelmingly. I voted no. One definition I have heard of the lottery is that it is a tax on those that are bad at math. About the only two budgets left are the public schools budget and the GARVEE (debt for roads) bill. Schools are still in the Senate and the GARVEE bill was returned to JFAC. In total, a mere billion and a half dollars left to appropriate.

Whatever else is out there for us to consider still remains in the rumor mill. It is rumored that the Governor will veto some more bills, even some budgets. How is it that old line on TV show Hee Haw went? “I’m not one to be going ‘round repeating rumors, so you’d better be listening close the first time.” I’ll do you one better. I’d rather not even mention them once. Well, maybe just one. Rumor has it we should finish by Wednesday.

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Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

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