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Idaho House Highlights – April 29

April 29th, 2009 by Halli

By Representative Tom Loertcher, R-31

Just before beginning the State Affairs Committee late last week a
member of the committee, Representative Lynn Luker, handed me this
little poem that I later read on the House floor just before adjourning
for the day.

The cattle are lowing,
The alfalfa needs mowing,
The weeds are all showing,
But the legislature’s still going.

Several times these past few weeks I have been saying that we should
have finished our work by now. We were on a roll to do so when the Veto
stamp made itself manifest in a big way. So now there are 33 budget
bills to redo or override but the latter is not likely to happen. We
have to pass the budget before we can leave town, just one of those
little constitutional duties.

It was an interesting week in the capitol to say the least only to be
outdone by the comments from folks at home over the weekend. To a person
the comments have not been favorable to the Governor’s position on
raising fuel taxes or his tactics. What seems like a small thing to tax
spenders is quite differently viewed by the tax payers. Everyone has
their reasons but the one that keeps coming up time and again is that
folks at home are a bit worried about the future. Somehow we survived
last year’s four dollar plus gas prices when the economy was doing
well. Now with layoffs, home foreclosures, investment losses, and the
nation embarking into enormous deficit spending, another round of high
fuel costs would be much tougher to endure.

Much negotiating by the House and the Governor is being done to get a
resolution. As we have looked at the numbers, we find that there is
going to be over a billion dollars available to spend on roads over the
next eighteen months from various sources, including unspent GARVEE
funds, new GARVEE authorization, all of that new stimulus money, and
some already agreed upon items that were vetoed. One thing I have
noticed is that government just never seems to have enough money to
spend.

Because of how we have funded roads with fees and taxes per gallon, a
phenomenon has made itself manifest. Government has been saying now for
years that we use too much fuel. For our own good we need to cut back.
We did what we were told and now our reward for being so thrifty with
the liquid gold, we are told we need to pay more taxes. Just another of
those mixed government messages.

With all of this going on you might think that nothing else has been
happening, but to the contrary there were some non budget matters
considered. One was a bill to make some changes in the redistricting
law, that will help keep communities of interest together. This will
help our district a great deal. Another item that passed the House this
week was a realigning of regulation of private driver education
businesses. Senator Geddes sponsored both of these bills in the Senate
and I was the House Sponsor. They both passed the House and are on the
way to the Governor.

In the early weeks of the session one member of the House predicted
that the final day of this legislative session would be May 1st. He got
a good laugh with that prediction. Guess who is getting the last laugh
now.

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

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