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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Senate Narrowly Passes AIC-Supported Transportation Funding Bill—Contact House Members ASAP to Support SB 1206

Posted By Justin Ruen, 23 hours ago

On Tuesday, the Idaho Senate narrowly approved the transportation funding bill that is the session’s going home bill, Senate Bill 1206, by a vote of 19-16-0.  The bill now goes to the House, where it will be considered very soon.

We ask city officials to contact members of the Idaho House of Representatives as soon as possible to respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1206 (a link at the bottom of this blog post provides a Word document with House members' email addresses).

Senate Bill 1206 will do the following:

Authorize up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state highway and freeway construction projects, which likely include repairing I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell.

Reauthorize the state surplus eliminator for two years, with the revenue split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts). 

Dedicate 1% of state sales tax revenue to state transportation projects to enhance capacity and mitigate congestion.  This diversion comes out of the state’s share of sales tax revenue after revenue sharing and does not impact local government revenue sharing

AIC strongly supports Senate Bill 1206 for the following reasons.

The state surplus eliminator is set to sunset this year and allocates half of state general fund surplus revenue to transportation projects for ITD.  None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions. 

Under Senate Bill 1206, surplus eliminator revenue would be split 60% to ITD and 40% to cities, counties and highway districts.  The local share would be allocated in grants for road and bridge construction projects awarded based on return on investment in the following categories:

Safety, including reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;

Mobility, including traffic-flow improvements for freight and passenger cars;

Enhancing economic development;

Repair and maintenance of bridges; and

Purchase of public rights of way.

A share of the surplus eliminator will help cities, counties and highway districts to address the most important road and bridge projects on the local highway system, which will save lives, strengthen our economy and improve our quality of life.

AIC also recognizes the vital importance of fixing I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell, which is a critical project for those who live and work in the Treasure Valley. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Idaho House to respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1206.  The link below will open a Word document with House members' email addresses.

Download File (DOCX)

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Contact Legislators ASAP to Ask for their Support of Senate Bill 1206 on Transportation Funding

Posted By Justin Ruen, Monday, March 27, 2017

On Monday afternoon, Sen. Bert Brackett of Three Creek introduced a new transportation funding bill that appears to be the going home bill of this legislative session. 

We ask city officials to contact all the members of the Idaho House and Senate to respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1206 on transportation funding (email addresses for legislators are provided in a Word file that you can access through a link at the bottom of this blog post).

Senate Bill 1206 will do the following:

Authorize up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state highway and freeway construction projects, which likely include repairing I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell.

Reauthorize the state surplus eliminator for two years, with the revenue split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts). 

Dedicate 1% of state sales tax revenue to state transportation projects to enhance capacity and mitigate congestion.  This diversion comes out of the state’s share of sales tax revenue after revenue sharing and does not impact local government revenue sharing

AIC strongly supports Senate Bill 1206 for the following reasons.

The state surplus eliminator is set to sunset this year and allocates half of state general fund surplus revenue to transportation projects for ITD.  None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions. 

Under Senate Bill 1206, surplus eliminator revenue would be split 60% to ITD and 40% to cities, counties and highway districts.  The local share would be allocated in grants for road and bridge construction projects awarded based on return on investment in the following categories:

Safety, including reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;

Mobility, including traffic-flow improvements for freight and passenger cars;

Enhancing economic development;

Repair and maintenance of bridges; and

Purchase of public rights of way.

A share of the surplus eliminator will help cities, counties and highway districts to address the most important road and bridge projects on the local highway system, which will save lives, strengthen our economy and improve our quality of life.

AIC also recognizes the vital importance of fixing I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell, which is a critical project for those who live and work in the Treasure Valley. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Idaho House and Senate and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1206.  The members’ email addresses can be accessed by clicking the link to the Word file below.

Download File (DOCX)

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Will the Legislature Adjourn without Giving Locals a Share of the Reauthorized Surplus Eliminator?

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 24, 2017

As the Idaho Legislature nears adjournment, it is not clear whether cities, counties and highway districts will receive badly needed surplus eliminator revenue to pay for road and bridge projects that will enhance safety, economic development and quality of life. 

AIC asks city officials to contact all the members of the Idaho House and Senate (link to document with emails at bottom of this post) to respectfully communicate to them that you strongly support the Legislature: (1) passing Senate Bill 1141, the emergency appropriation bill; and (2) reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.

The Legislature appears ready to approve $52 million in emergency funding for roads and bridges in counties where the Governor has declared a disaster (Senate Bill 1141).  We greatly appreciate this assistance that will help communities impacted by flooding this winter.

However, the emergency funding is one-time money that will only replace roads and bridges severely damaged by this winter’s storms.  The needs on the local highway system are much greater than what the emergency funding can fix.

The state surplus eliminator is set to sunset this year and allocates half of state general fund surplus revenue to transportation projects for the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).  None of the revenue from the surplus eliminator is currently shared with local highway jurisdictions. 

AIC supports reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue allocated 60% to ITD and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.  The local share could be allocated in grants awarded based on return on investment in the following categories:

Safety, including reduction of crashes, injuries, and fatalities;

Mobility, including traffic-flow improvements for freight and passenger cars;

Economic opportunity, including projected cost-benefit ratio for users and businesses;

Repair and maintenance of bridges; and

Purchase of public rights of way.

Local highway jurisdictions face a very difficult situation: many have blown through their maintenance budgets as the worst winter storm in decades forced them to spend unprecedented amounts on snow removal and winter maintenance.   

A share of the surplus eliminator will help these local highway jurisdictions to address the most important road and bridge projects on the local highway system.

AIC asks city officials to contact all the members of the Idaho House and Senate to respectfully communicate to them that you strongly support the Legislature: (1) passing Senate Bill 1141, the emergency appropriation bill; and (2) reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for at least two years, with the revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.

Below is a link to a document with email addresses for all members of the Senate and House.  

Download File (DOCX)

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Senate Defeats AIC-Supported Transportation Funding Bill—Contact House Members to Support SB 1141

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Today the Idaho Senate defeated the transportation funding bill strongly supported by AIC, Senate Bill 1188 as amended, by a vote of 15-20-0. 

We greatly appreciate the hard work by the bill’s sponsor, Senate Transportation Committee Chair Bert Brackett of Three Creek, who has worked extremely hard to try to secure new revenue for local roads.

The votes on Senate Bill 1188 are listed below.

Voting yes: Sens. Agenbroad, Anthon, Brackett, Davis, Hagedorn, Heider, Johnson, Lakey, Lee, Lodge, Martin, Patrick, Rice, Ward-Engelking, and Winder.

Voting no: Sens. Bair, Bayer, Buckner-Webb, Burgoyne, Crabtree, Den Hartog, Foreman, Guthrie, Harris, Hill, Jordan, Keough, Mortimer, Nonini, Nye, Siddoway, Souza, Stennett, Thayn, and Vick.

The emergency appropriation bill for repair of roads and bridges damaged by spring flooding, Senate Bill 1141, passed the Senate by a unanimous vote and is still awaiting floor consideration in the House.

We now need city officials to weigh in with their local members of the House of Representatives and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1141.

Senate Bill 1141 would provide $52 million in grant funding for state and local road and bridge projects in counties that are under a Governor’s disaster declaration.  This bill is critical to help local highway jurisdictions that have suffered damage to roads and bridges because of the spring flooding.

We ask city officials to contact their local members of the Idaho House of Representatives and respectfully ask for their support of Senate Bill 1141. 

 

 

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Update on Senate Amendments to Grocery Tax & Transportation Funding Bills—Contact Legislators to Support SB 1188 on Transportation Funding

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 21, 2017

This afternoon, the Idaho Senate adopted amendments to strengthen the grocery tax repeal and transportation funding bills. 

On the bill repealing the state sales tax on food, House Bill 67, the Senate adopted an amendment supported by AIC that increases the local government revenue sharing percentage of sales tax revenue from 11.5% to 13.2% to offset the lost revenue to local governments.  The amendment also resolves a timing issue with the effective dates of the repeal of the tax on groceries and the grocery income tax credit.

AIC greatly appreciates the work of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Cliff Bayer of Meridian, to resolve this issue in a way that is equitable for local governments.  The amendment allows AIC to withdraw its opposition to the bill and be neutral on the proposal.

On the transportation funding bill, Senate Bill 1188, the amended bill will include the following elements: authorization for issuing up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state transportation projects; moving the Idaho State Police out of the Highway Distribution Account and dedicating sales tax revenue for the agency; reauthorizing the surplus eliminator for five years, with revenue split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions; and requesting a study by the Office of Performance Evaluation of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

AIC strongly urges city officials to contact their local legislators and support Senate Bill 1188, as amended.  This bill is essential to meeting transportation needs for both the state and local highway jurisdictions. 

The $300 million in authorization for GARVEE bonds will fund road and bridge construction projects on state highways and freeways, including badly needed repairs to I-84 between Caldwell and Nampa.

The bill will also move the dedicated funding for the Idaho State Police from the Highway Distribution Account to dedicated sales tax revenue, which will free up an additional $17 million annually for state and local transportation needs.  The Highway Distribution Account revenue will be split 60% to the Idaho Transpiration Department (ITD) and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts).

The surplus eliminator, which currently dedicates half of state general fund surplus revenues to ITD for road and bridge projects, would be reauthorized for up to 5 years, and split 60% to ITD and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.  These funds would provide grants for road and bridge projects to improve safety, mobility, economic development, and repair and maintenance of bridges.

Strengthening Idaho’s infrastructure is key to growing our economy and protecting our quality of life.  We strongly urge city officials to contact their local legislators to support Senate Bill 1188 as amended.

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Senate Moves Forward with Grocery Tax Repeal without Protecting Revenue Sharing

Posted By Justin Ruen, Friday, March 17, 2017

In a dramatic turn of events Thursday afternoon, the Senate amended an income tax relief bill to strip out the income tax provisions and replace those provisions with repealing the sales tax on food. 

The amendment provides no replacement revenue for local governments’ sales tax revenue sharing and would result in a major financial hit to cities, counties and non-school special districts of about $27.5 million annually when fully implemented.  AIC is currently working on estimates to show the potential impact to each city and will share that information as soon as it is available.

House Bill 67 as amended will be debated and voted soon on the Senate floor. 

We ask city officials to contact members of the Senate and respectfully ask that revenue sharing be protected, either in the form of replacement revenue or a hold harmless provision that would establish a floor for distributions.

Some of the bill’s proponents argue that growth in sales tax revenue will be sufficient to protect local governments.  But growth in sales tax revenue isn’t guaranteed: in 2009 and 2010, revenue sharing funds to cities declined 17%. 

There is also valid concern about stability of sales tax revenue.  The revenue from the sales tax on food is the most stable part of the state's sales tax revenue.  If legislators approve repealing the sales tax on groceries and the economy then goes into a downturn, the negative impact to sales tax revenue and revenue sharing will be magnified.  

We respect legislators’ desire to provide tax relief in a way that looks out for the most vulnerable members of our society, but it is important that this tax relief be done in such a way that cities are not forced to cut police or fire protection, or raise property taxes.

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City Officials Asked to Contact Legislators to Oppose HB 283

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 16, 2017

This morning the House Revenue & Taxation Committee voted to approve a bill that would have very negative impacts on cities’ budget authority.  House Bill 283 will be considered on the House floor very soon and we ask city officials to contact their local legislators to respectfully ask them to oppose this bill.

House Bill 283 is sponsored by Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls.  The bill would provide that anytime property becomes exempt from property taxation after being purchased by the State of Idaho, local government tax levying authority would be reduced by an amount equal to the levy rate of the previous year multiplied by the value of the exempt property.  The bill also provides that property that becomes exempt within two years may be removed from the new construction roll.

At the hearing, Rep. Trujillo dropped the bombshell that the State of Idaho is looking to purchase the Hewlett-Packard campus in Boise for the State Tax Commission, which is losing its current office space.  If HB 283 passes, the fiscal impact to the City of Boise of the property being sold to the State would be a loss of over $600,000 in budget authority.

House Bill 283 will wreak havoc on local government budgets and AIC strongly opposes the legislation. 

When property goes off the tax rolls after being purchased by a government entity, local governments still must provide police and fire protection, street maintenance and other vital local services. 

The costs of providing these vital local government services don’t go down because property becomes exempt from taxation.

House Bill 283 will force local governments to cut other tax-supported services, or raise property taxes, to provide the services that are required for these exempt properties.

Idaho law currently does not reduce a local government’s budget capacity when properties become exempt from taxation and this is the best policy to ensure that vital services can continue to be provided without forcing cuts to services or tax increases.

We ask that city officials contact their local legislators and respectfully ask that they oppose House Bill 283.  

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Senate Transportation Funding Bill Up for Hearing Thurs., March 16 & Available to Review

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The much anticipated Senate omnibus transportation funding bill--Senate Bill 1184--is now available to review online.  The bill will be up for hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, March 16 at 1 p.m.

Major provisions of the bill include:

  • Authorizing up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for road and bridge construction projects on state highways and freeways.  
  • Authorizing up to $200 million in bonding authority for road and bridge construction projects that improve safety, enhance economic development and reduce congestion, with 60% for projects on the state system and 40% for projects by cities, counties and highway districts.
  • Reauthorizing the state surplus eliminator for five years, and providing that revenues will be split 60% to the state and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts).  This revenue will fund road and bridge construction projects.
  • Exempting from sales tax materials used for road construction projects.
  • Eliminates the current 5% share of Highway Distribution Account revenues for the Idaho State Police (ISP), and gives ISP dedicated state sales tax revenue.  Highway Distribution Account revenues will be split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions.
  • A 1% local option sales tax for counties to levy for specific transportation projects.
  • The Office of Performance Evaluation will conduct an independent evaluation of the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council.

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Senate Transportation Bill Likely up for Hearing Thursday, March 16

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An omnibus transportation funding bill was on the agenda of the Senate Judiciary & Rules Committee to be introduced this afternoon, but the bill's sponsor Sen. Bert Brackett was reportedly unable to make it to the meeting in time to have the bill introduced.

Committee Chair Sen. Patti Anne Lodge indicated the bill will be introduced by a buck slip, which is a very infrequently used procedure that requires every committee member's signature to introduce a bill without the customary print hearing.

Betsy Russell's Eye on Boise Blog is reporting that the bill will likely be up for a hearing in the Senate Transportation Committee on Thursday, March 16.  

This is one of the most important bills of the session from the perspective of Idaho cities.  The bill reportedly includes authorization for up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for state transportation projects, a five-year extension of the state surplus eliminator, shifting the Idaho State Police (ISP) out of the Highway Distribution Account and providing ISP with dedicated sales tax revenue, and reportedly authorization for a 1% local option sales tax for transportation projects.

We will be posting updates on the status of the bill as we get additional information.  The bill is not currently available to review on the Legislature's website.

 

 

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Register Today for AIC Spring Regional Academies

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Registration is now open for AIC's Spring Academy for City Officials. Information concerning the upcoming Academy, including how to register and a detailed program agenda can be found at the following website: http://idahocities.org/?page=DistrictMeetings 

Spring Academies will be held around the state at the following locations:

  • Monday, April 24th: Nampa Civic Center
  • Tuesday, April 25th: Best Western Plus Burley Inn
  • Wednesday, April 26th: Idaho Falls Hilton Garden Inn
  • Thursday, April 27th: Chubbuck Idaho Central Credit Union corporate headquarters
  • Monday, May 1st: Best Western Coeur d'Alene Inn
  • Tuesday, May 2nd: Moscow Best Western University Inn

AIC's Spring Academy for City Officials is held each April/May to provide city officials with timely training on the municipal budget process, recently enacted legislation, and other important topics. This year the program will include training on the following:

  • 2017 Legislative Review: A review of legislative action affecting cities including HB130 (city treasurer responsibilities), HB207 (foregone property taxes), HB216 (regulation of short term vacation rentals), HB235 (property tax exemption for capital investments), SB1074 (local government purchasing), SB1113 (changes to the Justice Reinvestment Act), and SB1141 (emergency transportation funding).
  • Municipal Budgeting: A detailed training of the ins and outs of developing, adopting, and implementing your municipal budget including training on property tax budgeting, budgeting non-property tax revenues, utility rate setting, and financial reporting and oversight.
  • Municipal Bidding and Procurement: An overview of Idaho’s local government bidding and procurement laws, including purchasing that is exempt from competitive bidding, purchasing professional services and personal property, purchasing public works construction, and joint purchasing agreements. 

Following the training, each AIC District will be given time to caucus to nominate and select AIC Board representatives for the upcoming year.

All city officials are encouraged to attend.

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