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Rep. Tom Loertscher: House Highlights – March 9

March 10th, 2014 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Bone

Ronald Reagan said, “Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them.” With some of the things we do I think that we are not really solving much but rather we are trying to correct what we have done or not done in the past. One of those items this week is what we call the annual “Codifiers bill” that corrects small errors in the law that have crept in over time, misspelled words, incorrect references, and stuff like that. What is most interesting is that there is someone whose job it is to read and re-read the law books looking for these things.

Along the lines of trying to solve a problem, I had a little tax bill in the Revenue and Taxation Committee to correct an oversight having to do with the renewable energy producers’ tax exemption. In spite of the Tax Commission having the bill to review for a couple of weeks, thirty seconds before the presentation they explained a problem that needed to be addressed. I guess I should be grateful it happened before the meeting, rather than my being rearranged in front of the committee.

At long last we have begun the process of setting the 2015 budget. It seems like it happens every year in the same way, the smaller budgets first, then the budgets that spend very little General Fund Revenue, and last of all come the big items. One budgetary item of interest to our smaller school districts, at least, is what is called “use it or lose it” money. It is just what it sounds like, if a district could not use the funds for the purpose it was designated, we have provided the flexibility for them to use the money in other ways. That flexibility has been extended for another year with a gradual phase-out in the future. It’s not a real problem solver but a rearrangement that gives some time to adjust.

A bill that would have helped reduce the expenditures for the county medically indigent program and the Catastrophic Health Care Cost Program passed the House easily and then met with an ignominious death in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee. It provided that individuals would become responsible for their own medical care by their use of the Idaho Health Exchange and federal subsidies. Here again, it really didn’t solve much but did rearrange who pays in the end. If we do nothing, our local taxpayers will have a much larger share of funding medical care into the future.

And then there is daylight savings time. A House member from Boise introduced a bill that would have kept Idaho on daylight savings time year round. That created quite a firestorm of comments from all over the state. Some want regular time, some want daylight savings time, and the rest don’t see a need to change. It is like cutting a foot from one end of a blanket and sewing it on the opposite end and saying you have a longer blanket. The sponsor asked me to hold the bill. I think President Reagan was right. It is now 10:30 PM. Oh! Wait a minute, its 11:30. My life has just been rearranged, by government of course.

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Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher, Taxes | No Comments »

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