By Representative Tom Loertscher, R-Bone
Our house chaplain, Pastor Tom, usually starts the day off with a quotation accompanied with a Scripture. One from this last week was a quotation from Sylvester Stallone, “I am not the smartest or most talented person in the world, but I succeeded because I keep going, and going, and going.” At this stage of the session we certainly don’t want to just keep going and going but it will take some sticking to the task to get it done.
I was talking to a member of the Appropriations Committee just prior to one of the floor sessions starting and I asked him if all the money was spent yet. He said, “Pretty much, and maybe a little more.” We are required to have a balanced budget by our state Constitution so we do have to make sure that we don’t overspend . The tricky part in all of that is to make sure that the revenues are there and come in as anticipated. Even though the revenue numbers were up for the month of February, they do not reflect any income tax refunds that are being sent out to taxpayers. Some of those numbers will not be seen until we see what happens in March and April.
We had an introduction hearing in the state affairs committee a few days ago that would increase the brand inspection fees used for predator control from five cents per head to an additional twenty five cents per head as would be requested by the Idaho cattle Association. Interestingly enough, the destination for the funds would be to the sheep and goat fund and ultimately would be used to finance the federal predator control folks. If I read the bill correctly, it seems to me that it will be imposed only on cattle, horses and mules. Some of that discussion came up in committee prior to introduction but the bill was sent on for discussion in the Agricultural Affairs Committee and will be up for debate first thing Monday when we go on the floor the House. To me this looks like a fee being imposed on producers who have not caused the problem (wolves) in the first place. I’ll be voting no.
We are now seeing the fiscal year 2014 budgets and so far all have passed the House. There are some however, that have had quite a few no votes. When I voted no on a particular budget this past week my seatmate asked me why I voted against the appropriation. I told him that I tend to not support appropriations that exceed the percentage increase in our projected revenues.
Health insurance exchange legislation that has been modified from what the governor proposed, has been passed out of the House Health and Welfare Committee and will be seen early in the week for full debate by the House. That should be one of those things that will keep going, and going, and going.
This is what I call one of my marathon weekends, where most of what I did was drive. Linda doesn’t always go with me when I travel to other parts of the district, but this week as we traveled to Preston for the Franklin County Lincoln day celebration we had an enjoyable trip and a delightful time visiting with the folks there. This is also one of those perfect storm weekends. Mixed in all that, was the change to daylight savings time. How vain can man be to think he can save daylight. Oh well, we’re tough and will stick to it but with a little less sleep.
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