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Idaho House Highlights – April 15

April 15th, 2009 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-31

Most legislative sessions eventually come down to a showdown between the legislature and the governor. It doesn’t look like this time around will be any different. Governor Otter is not happy with us on several fronts, the most obvious of which is revenue for roads. We debated a two cent increase for quite some time and the comments expressed were creative. “This is such a piddley little amount” and “If your car gets twenty miles per gallon and you drive twenty thousand miles per year it will only cost you a dollar a month” were two of the most memorable ones. I voted no. Rural Idaho will pay more because we have to drive further to do our business than urban folks do.

One House member itemized the amounts that will be spent this year by the Idaho Transportation Department and the figure is very large, even with current revenues. And that is not taking into account the new GARVEE authorization that passed the House on Friday and is on its way to the Governor for signature. I voted no. More debt in these times is not a prudent thing to do. We are told we have to continue because we started and we will not be able to finish without more debt. Never mind the effect debt has in a climate of decreasing revenues. The Good Book has some great advice, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?”

Another showdown is on the way over state employee salaries and how to administer them. Here again it has been interesting to see the mixed messages that have been coming from the Governor’s office and we still don’t know if we have a solution that is acceptable to him. I rather think that we will soon have the answer to that if he starts to use that big ugly red veto stamp. I was visiting with one of my colleagues the other day and he told me the Governor was not happy. I responded that I don’t believe we are in charge of his being happy or not.

We have arrived at that time of year when we all wish we would have concluded our business by now. Spending Easter week in Boise is not what we had in mind, and going into the middle of April is not good either. When there were more farmers in the legislature they wanted to get back to the fields when the weather warmed up. In our neck of the woods things are still a bit wet but I’ll bet that won’t last too much longer.

Speaking of farming, a long Saturday at home was great, and even if the ground was too wet to plow, it was about right to get the spreaders and loader going to do some cleanup after a long winter. Some might say that I should have brought some of the spreading equipment back with me to speed up this process, or whatever other metaphor might be appropriate.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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