[Vision2020] End of Legislative Session Summary from Rep. Trail

ttrail at moscow.com ttrail at moscow.com
Sat Apr 5 14:52:55 PDT 2008

                          LEGISLATIVE NEWSLETTER WRAPUP

The House and Senate adjourned late Wednesday afternoon April 2nd. 

I opposed SB1447 in the House State Affairs Committee. It was held in
committee by a 10 to 6 vote.  This is the bill that would reduce State
Employee Retiree Health Benefits.
A Conference Committee made up of members of the House and Senate worked on
HB599AA this week.   This is the bill that would eliminate business
personal property tax.   The bill passed the both the House and Senate.  
The bill sets a $100,000 cap. A trigger mechanism will activate the process
 -- state revenues will have to exceed 5% of the revenues of the previous
year.   An owner with multiple stores in a county of the same type may
claim only one exemption; however, if he has a similar business in another
county he can claim one for that county.  The bill will cost an estimated
$17 million instead of the original $110 million sought by IACI (Idaho
Association of Commerce and Industry)--big business.   The bill should
benefit about 90% of Idaho small businesses. This is a good piece of
We finally reached an agreement with the Governor and voted to restore 90%
of the funding - about $15,000,000 - to support drug rehabilitation
programs and the drug courts.
In looking forward at the unfinished business awaiting the 2009
Legislature, the Boise Statesmen outlined a series of issues that will be
faced and should form the background of the political discussion for the
campaign.  These points are:
 1.  Do you believe Idaho has a serious roadwork backlog that will cost
$200 million a year to remedy?  Should Idaho increase it gas tax?  Should
it increase vehicle registration fees?
 2.  Do you want to continue borrowing money, through the Connecting Idaho
program, also known as GARVEE bonding for work on Idaho highways?
 3.  Has Idaho provided adequate property tax relief in past legislative
sessions?  If not, what additional tax relief would you support?
 4.  Do you support the idea of giving tax incentives to large industries,
such as Micron Technology or Areva?
 5.  The state has more than 70 sales tax exemptions on the books, some
dating back to 1965.  Are all of them still viable, or have any outlives
their usefulness?
 6.  A mere 26 percent of Idaho 18-24 year olds attended college in 2006. 
Gov. Otter wants to create a $100 college scholarship endowment during his
four year term.  Do you support this idea?
 7.  Do you support teacher merit pay?  If so, how do you decide which
teachers deserve a pay raise?
 8.  Should Idaho follow the lead of most other states and spend taxpayer
money on  pre-kindergarten education?
 9.  Does Idaho need to tighten its day-care regulations?
10.  When 85 percent of inmates have a drug or alcohol addiction should the
state, expand drug treatment in prison and community treatment designed to
help keep people from winding up behind bars?
11.  Should Idaho put state tax dollars into community health centers that
serve uninsured or under-insured Idahoans and keep them from running up
large emergency room bills?
12.  With some 220,000 Idahoans uninsured should the state provide
incentives to help small businesses to provide health insurance?  Is so, what?
13.  Does Idaho need tighter ethic laws?  Should ex-lawmakers have to wait
before taking lobbying jobs with private industry?
14.  Who should make the decisions about where power plants should be
15.  Should the state's agencies study climate change and Idaho's
contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

These are provocative issues and will frame much of the debate leading up
to the 2009 Legislative session.
I'd appreciate your comments and ideas.   You can reach me via e mail a
ttrail at moscow.com and telephone at 882-6077.
Representative Tom Trail

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