by Ben Wickham
The Legislative task force adjourned its meeting nearly an hour and a half ahead of schedule. Everyone in the non-air conditioned room appeared happy to get out of their seats and out of the oven.
But because they were so far ahead of schedule, we missed most of the meeting. Luckily, Eye on Boise stuck it out the whole day.
The task force, which is looking to alleviate the budget cuts that Idaho State Police and the Parks will experience in a year when their dedicated gas tax funds are reallocated to the Transportation Department, agreed to consider other plans that do not involve tax increases.
Representative Raul Labrador of Eagle expressed the slim chance of any proposal including a tax increase passing the floor of the house. Senator Patti Anne Lodge suggested further research into the possibility of raising public user fees to offset the loss of the gas tax appropriations. The task force tentatively scheduled its next meeting for August 11 with followup meetings in September. Lawmakers anticipate winding up their proposal for the Legislature by October. Whether the task force chooses to call it a tax increase or a rise in user fees, it sounds like the public will foot the bill again for the Legislature’s shifting of funds around.