| 03.20.2018

Transportation relief bill killed

Bill changing income tax collection falls in Senate

BOISE — One of three bills structured to finance necessary improvements to Idaho’s transportation system was vanquished with unanimous consensus on the Senate floor Tuesday.

Just an hour before the vote, the bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee with a 7-2 with vote and no recommendation.

When the Senate reconvened after Republicans met behind closed doors for a caucus, Majority Leader Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, motioned for the bill to not be reconsidered during the legislative session, to which he received no opposition.

“This action should be considered as a desire to shift the focus to other transportation funding sources,” Davis said.

The bill, H.B. 311, featured an array of legislation, beginning with raising the gas tax 7 cents, decreasing top income tax rates and removing both the grocery sales tax and the grocery tax credit.

Bill co-sponsor House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, said he was disappointed senators did not have a vote on the bill.

“I think it was a well-balanced approach … I’m optimistic we can still come to some mutually agreeable compromise, and look forward to working these problems out with the Senate,” Bedke said.

The other two bills apportioning funds toward the repair of Idaho roads and bridges are currently on hold without a set date for reading.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Jason Monks, R-Meridian, H.B. 310, seeks to divert cash flow from the Idaho State Police and redirect General Funds to transportation. Another bill, H.B. 312, would increase vehicle registration fees across the board and is sponsored by Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian.

George Wood Jr. can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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