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Top tags: City Officials' Day at the Capitol 

Otter Vetoes Grocery Tax Repeal—Legislators Threaten Lawsuit

Posted By Justin Ruen, Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The fate of one of the most important bills of the 2017 legislative session was sealed Tuesday night as Governor Otter vetoed the grocery tax repeal bill, House Bill 67.  You can read the Governor’s message outlining the reasons behind his veto of the bill by clicking the "Download File" link at the bottom of this blog post.

This morning, Rep. Bryan Zollinger, R-Idaho Falls; Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg; and former congressional candidate Bryan Smith announced they would ask Secretary of State Lawerence Denney not to recognize the Governor’s veto because it allegedly violates the timeframe required by the Idaho Constitution.

Otter’s veto message articulates the importance of the grocery tax as a stable source of revenue during economic downturns and the dangers of relying on more economically volatile revenue sources to support education and other state general fund programs.

“Every Idaho citizen should know by now that I support tax relief.  In fact, I have approved about $1 billion in tax relief since I took office in 2007.  However, the costs of this particular proposal are too high and the potential for imminent financial need too great for the small amount of tax relief it would provide.”

“In a meeting with Republican leaders of the Idaho House and Senate during the recently concluded legislative session, the discussion turned to the desire by members of their respective caucuses to remove the 6 percent sales tax from groceries.  The leaders were concerned about the fiscal impacts of such a change, citing the trouble that Utah legislative leaders reported as a result of our neighboring state taking that action.”

“The advice from Utah was simple and straightforward: Don’t do it.  The ramifications of lifting the sales tax from food had made budgeting much more difficult with the loss of what indisputably was their most stable and consistent source of revenue for essential government operations.  Taxpayers benefited almost imperceptibly while lawmakers found themselves dealing with the peaks and valleys of income tax and other financial supports that are far more susceptible to economic fluctuations.”

“The income derived from a tax on groceries helps to even out the more dramatic ups and downs in our State revenue stream so that government avoids disruptive and dysfunctional shortfalls and funding holdbacks needed to balance the budget.”

The Governor went on to explain his argument in greater detail, which was outlined in a letter to legislators during consideration of House Bill 67. 

“The State will return approximately $149 million to Idaho taxpayers through the grocery tax credit in fiscal 2019 starting on July 1, 2018, when House Bill 67 would become effective.”

“Removing the sales tax on groceries would reduce the State’s General Fund revenue by over $201 million in fiscal 2019.”

“Provisions in House Bill 67 to keep local units of government from losing any revenue sharing money as a result of the change would reduce the State’s General Fund by another $26 million.”

“Overall, the General Fund would be reduced by almost $80 million in fiscal 2019 alone, making it all the more difficult to meet our commitments to improving Idaho’s education system.”

“…I understand that House Bill 67 has captured the popular imagination.  It purports to provide tax relief for the working poor—a worthy ambition, but one already accomplished through the grocery tax credit.  The truth is this bill’s benefits are largely imaginary while the downsides are many and very real.  The job of all of us who represent and serve the people of Idaho is to do what’s right, not necessarily what’s popular.  It’s wonderful when the two align.  In this case, unfortunately, they do not.”

The legal challenge to the Governor’s veto is grounded in Article IV, Section 10 of the Idaho Constitution, which provides:

“Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor to the legislature within five (5) days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the legislature shall, by adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be filed, with his objections, in the office of the secretary of state within ten (10) days after such adjournment (Sundays excepted) or become a law.”

While the constitutional provision seems clear, the 1978 Idaho Supreme Court case Cenarrusa v. Andrus provided that the Governor has 10 days to veto a bill after it is presented to him, not 10 days after the end of the legislative session.

The Idaho Secretary of State’s office, relying on this case, has accepted the Governor’s veto as valid. 

Download File (PDF)

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Transportation Funding Bill Becomes Law without Governor's Signature

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Today Governor Otter announced that the AIC-supported transportation funding bill—Senate Bill 1206—will become law without his signature.  You can read the Governor’s transmittal letter outlining his rationale for not signing the bill.

Senate Bill 1206 will authorize up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell and other state transportation projects, as well as reauthorize the state surplus eliminator for two years with the revenue split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts).

The surplus eliminator revenue will be used for project grants to improve safety on roadways and pedestrian routes, enhance mobility, strengthen economic development, and repair bridges.  Currently, it appears that about $1.3 million will be available in surplus eliminator revenue for local highway jurisdictions in state FY 2017.

Senate Bill 1206 also dedicates 1% of state sales tax revenue to state transportation projects to enhance capacity and mitigate congestion, which comes out of the state’s share of sales tax revenue and does not impact local government revenue sharing.

Otter has long expressed support for keeping Idaho's transportation system funded by users and has opposed efforts to divert state general fund revenue for transportation funding, which pits transportation against schools and other worthy state priorities.

"While I object to significant portions of this legislation for the reasons outlined below, the imminent and ongoing risk to our citizens and the negative impact on our key corridors of commerce are too great to keep Senate Bill 1206 from becoming law," Otter said.

"...I am troubled by the determination—particularly in the House of Representatives—that General Fund revenue now must be an ingredient of any transportation revenue plan.  I have said repeatedly and clearly that I oppose putting transportation in direct competition with education and our other constitutional and statutory commitments for General Fund revenue.  So, while I hope that lawmakers will reconsider the provision carving out 1 percent of State sales tax revenue from our General Fund, House leadership has expressed to me that such reconsideration is highly unlikely." 

"While increasing our bonded indebtedness by issuing up to $300 million in additional GARVEE bonds authorized by this legislation is not my preferred option, it at least provides a noncompetitive revenue source for large construction projects like that on an already dangerously congested Interstate 84.  I also remain relatively confident that our federal highway funding distributions will continue to cover debt service on our GARVEE bonds.  So, despite my misgivings, the pressing safety issues on I-84 compel my grudging approval."

"I advise and implore [legislators] to look beyond quick fixes to proposals that are fiscally responsible within the context of all our budgetary demands, not dependent on year-to-year financial windfalls—either federal or State—and sustainable beyond a near-term window.  It also should enable and encourage local highway jurisdictions—which have taxing authority of their own—to become more self-sufficient and accountable to their constituents by becoming less dependent on State-generated revenue."

"I hope future deliberations will more broadly consider such measures as a fee on vehicle miles traveled to supplement the fuel tax and vehicle registration fees as the core elements of how we pay for the roads that safely connect us in order to effectively grow the economy that sustains us."

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NOTICE: Nomination and Election of AIC Board District Directors at Upcoming AIC Spring District Workshops

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 11, 2017

In 2016, the AIC Bylaws were amended to require that nomination and election of AIC Board District Directors take place at the AIC Spring District Workshops. Article IV, Section 5 of the AIC Bylaws states:

 

Candidates for District Director shall be elected at each Spring District Meeting.  The District Director whose term has not yet expired shall officiate at the Spring District Meeting and oversee the election of the new District Director.  In the event that the terms of both District Directors are complete, the President will appoint an official for the Spring District Meeting to oversee the election. Each elected official present at the District Caucus is allowed one vote.  Non-elected city employees are not allowed to vote.  The presiding board member shall call for nominations.  Elected officials not present, but eligible, may be nominated with prior consent of the nominee.  Self-nominations are also allowed.  After all nominations are made, each nominee may say a few words or may submit a brief written statement in support of his/her candidacy.  After each nominee has had an opportunity to speak, votes shall be cast, either by voice or in writing.  If there is a tie, the presiding District Director shall break the tie.

 

The primary reason for the Bylaw change was to allow more AIC member cities to participate in the nomination and election of AIC Board District Directors. To comply with the Bylaw changes, AIC has arranged for there to be District Caucus meetings at the conclusion of the upcoming AIC Spring District Workshops. We encourage elected officials to attend the AIC Spring District Workshops and participate in the District Caucus Meetings at the conclusion of the workshops.

 

The 2017 AIC Spring District Workshops (and associated District Caucus meetings) will take place at the following dates/locations:

 

District 1: Monday, May 1st at the Best Western Plus Coeur d’Alene Inn

District 2: Tuesday, May 2nd at the Moscow Best Western Plus University Inn

District 3: Monday, April 24th at the Nampa Civic Center

District 4: Tuesday, April 25th at the Best Western Burley Inn and Convention Center

District 5: Thursday, April 27th at the Chubbuck Idaho Central Credit Union Building

District 6: Wednesday, April 26th at the Idaho Falls Hilton Garden Inn

 

All Spring District Workshops will begin at 9:00 am and include lunch. The District Caucus meetings will begin at the conclusion of the workshops (likely between 2:30 and 3:00 pm). Registration for the 2017 AIC Spring District Workshops is $35.00. The agenda for the 2017 Spring District Workshops is available on the AIC website here: http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/idahocities.org/resource/resmgr/spring_district/UPDATED_Agenda.pdf.

 

Training topics include a review of the 2017 Legislative Session, the municipal budgeting process, and local government bidding and procurement. Registrations can be made on the AIC website here: http://idahocities.org/?page=DistrictMeetings

 

Any city official may attend the district caucus portion of the .  The members present from each district select the topics discussed.  During the caucus an election must be held to select a director to represent the district on the AIC Board of Directors.

 

The AIC Board includes two elected officials from each district, with district directors serving alternating two-year terms.  Normally, one district director is elected each year, unless the other district director position is vacant, in which case board members to fill both positions would be selected at the caucus.  The district director whose term is not expiring serves as the Presiding District Director at the caucus.  In the event that both director positions are vacant, then an Acting Presider is selected to fill that role.

 

The process of selecting district directors begins with the Presiding District Director calling for nominations.  People not present, but eligible, may be nominated.  Self-nominations are also allowed.  After nominations have been made, each nominee may choose to say a few words. 

 

Voting may be either by voice vote or written ballots.  Each elected official present at the caucus is allowed one vote.  For example, if the mayor and four councilmembers from one city are present, they each may cast one vote for a total of five votes from that city.  Only elected officials are allowed to vote.  The candidate receiving the most votes is elected.  If there is a tie, the Presiding District Director shall break the tie.

 

2017 Presiding District Directors

 

District 1:            Steve Widmyer—Mayor, Coeur d'Alene

District 2:            Bill Lambert—Mayor, Moscow

District 3:            Diana Thomas—Mayor, Weiser

District 3A:         Genesis Milam—Councilmember, Meridian

District 4:            Bruce Hossfeld—Mayor, Paul

District 5:            Kevin England—Mayor, Chubbuck

District 6:            Rebecca Casper—Mayor, Idaho Falls

 

Positions Up for Election

District 1:            Vic Holmes―Mayor, Rathdrum

District 2:            Bob Blakey―Councilmember, Lewiston

District 3:            Darin Taylor―Mayor, Middleton

District 3A:         Lauren McLean—Councilmember, Boise

District 4:            Casey Andersen―Councilmember, Burley

District 5:            Tom Jenkins―Councilmember, Malad

District 6:            Tom Jewell―Mayor, Island Park

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AIC-Supported Transportation Funding Bills Go to Governor’s Desk

Posted By Justin Ruen, Thursday, March 30, 2017

As the 2017 Idaho Legislature adjourns sine die, two very important AIC-supported transportation funding bills are headed to Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter for signature.

Senate Bill 1141 provides $52 million in state emergency funding for restoring roads and bridges damaged by spring floods in counties where the Governor has declared a disaster.  This state emergency appropriation could leverage very significant assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Cities that receive assistance would be required to come up with a 10% local match, which may be met by in-kind work done by city employees and equipment.

Senate Bill 1206 will authorize up to $300 million in GARVEE bonds for I-84 between Nampa and Caldwell and other state transportation projects, as well as reauthorize the state surplus eliminator for two years with the revenue split 60% to the Idaho Transportation Department and 40% to local highway jurisdictions (cities, counties and highway districts). 

The surplus eliminator revenue will be used for project grants to improve safety on roadways and pedestrian routes, enhance mobility, strengthen economic development, and repair bridges.  Currently, it appears that about $1.3 million will be available in surplus eliminator revenue for local highway jurisdictions in state FY 2017.

Senate Bill 1206 also dedicates 1% of state sales tax revenue to state transportation projects to enhance capacity and mitigate congestion, which comes out of the state’s share of sales tax revenue and does not impact local government revenue sharing.

We extend our sincere appreciation for the dedicated work by Senate Transportation Committee Chair Bert Brackett of Three Creek, who is a tireless advocate for improving local roads.  Sen. Chuck Winder of Boise played a pivotal role in the passage of Senate Bill 1206 and also deserves special recognition for his efforts.  We also recognize Rep. Clark Kauffman of Filer and Rep. Rick Youngblood of Nampa, who are also articulate advocates for local transportation needs.

We also greatly appreciate the effort by many city officials who called, emailed and texted their legislators to ask for their support of these important bills.  AIC’s legislative advocacy efforts depend on the grassroots involvement of city officials throughout the state.

 

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

Posted By Justin Ruen, Tuesday, March 28, 2017

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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