by Logan Finney, Idaho Reports
The Idaho Legislature voted to enact a major property tax relief proposal on Wednesday, passing it into law over Gov. Brad Little’s objections that the legislation removes an essential school election date and is unnecessarily complicated.
Little vetoed the bill on Monday, to which the Senate responded with a simplified bill. The House rejected that effort and voted to override Little on Tuesday. After a few days of negotiations and multiple closed-door caucus meetings, the Senate took up the veto and a bill to address some of Little’s fiscal concerns on Wednesday afternoon.
Democrats on the Senate floor criticized the complexity of the whole affair – from the original HB 292 itself, to the trailer bill passed unanimously twenty minutes earlier, to an anticipated JFAC appropriation necessary to cover county public defense funding that was overlooked in the trailer.
Not a single Republican senator stood to debate the House’s trailer bill before it passed unanimously.
“Again and again, we have to fix this,” Senate Minority Leader Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, said. Lawmakers should simply re-index the homeowner’s exemption, restore the circuit breaker, “and go home,” she said.
Wintrow said the Democrats supported Little’s move to block HB 292 because of the March election issue.
The move to override Little’s veto passed the Senate on party lines, meeting the two-thirds bar necessary to override a veto. Sen. Chris Trakel, R-Caldwell, was the only Republican to debate the bill.
“Remember why we’re here,” Trakel told his colleagues: to do something about property taxes. “This is the one thing, I think, that unites all of Idaho.”
Little responded shortly after the vote in a press release:
“I’m pleased the Legislature passed $117 million in property tax relief for Idaho citizens and businesses. I called for $120 million at the start of the session, and they came close to my recommendation. I’m also pleased the Legislature fixed concerns I identified in my veto of House Bill 292 – transportation bonding and public defense funding. The process worked, and we are getting real property tax relief done for Idahoans.
“Overall, I’m also pleased we achieved almost ALL of my IDAHO FIRST budget priorities this session for workforce training, education, property tax relief, transportation, water, building infrastructure, broadband, public safety, healthcare, outdoor recreation, fire, rainy-day transfers, and more.”
Logan Finney | Associate Producer
Logan Finney is a North Idaho native with a passion for media production and boring government meetings. He grew up skiing, hunting and hiking in the mountains of Bonner County and has maintained a lifelong interest in the state’s geography, history and politics. Logan joined the Idaho Reports team in 2020 as a legislative session intern and stayed to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. He was hired as an associate producer in 2021 and they haven’t been able to get rid of him since.