GOVERNOR VETOES PROPERTY TAX BILL TO PLEASE PUBLIC EDUCATION BUREAUCRACY
The Wayne Hoffman
Just a short time ago, Gov. Brad Little vetoed House Bill 292, which would have given property tax relief to Idaho families. According to his press release, the governor’s top concern was the loss of the March election date for school levies, where low turnout often allows school boards to raise property taxes on their districts with little citizen input. The public education establishment loves low-turnout elections. The majority of the Legislature agreed the March election should go away because it is designed to catch the electorate off guard and give a leg up to special interests.
Now, the Senate has made drastic changes to an unrelated House bill that restores the March election. The bill might provide some property tax relief, but it would also authorize a lot of local government spending.
The House and Senate could override the governor’s veto. It passed the Legislature with only 10 no votes. But as we’ve seen this legislative session, there’s little will among establishment Republicans and leftist Democrats to do that. They’re content being supplicants to the governor, who is content to do the bidding of the public education establishment.
It would be wrong to argue that Idaho’s establishment politicians aren’t interested in providing tax relief, but it’s clear from the governor’s actions and the actions of the state Senate that concerns about high property taxes and out-of-control government spending are secondary to the demands of the special interests that want to continue business as usual.
This legislative session started with a $1.9 billion surplus. Now, lawmakers are straggling across the finish line with token tax relief and a message that they’ll protect the education bureaucracy from any real accountability at the ballot box.
Once the legislative session has adjourned, the lawmakers behind the political brinkmanship will argue that they behaved as “conservatives.” Rest assured, we will continue to hold state elected officials accountable for their shenanigans by arming you with the truth about what really transpired here in Boise.
Wayne Hoffman is president of Idaho Freedom Foundation.