State of State: Freedom Foundation Director 'Shocked' at Otter's Local-Option Idea


When Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter floated a political trial balloon Monday, advocating the use of a local-option tax to help phase out Idaho's personal property tax, he caught more than a few Capitol watchers off guard.

"I thought it was shocking. I can tell you that I didn't see that one coming," said Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. "That is loaded with all kinds of problems. Obviously, we're not terribly excited about that prospect at all."

Hoffman told Citydesk that it was hard to grade Otter's State of the State address, as it was"unmeasurable" until the end of the 2013 legislative session.

But when Otter reiterated his support for a state-run health care exchange as part of the Affordable Care Act, Hoffman said he was "severely disappointed."

"You saw what the state GOP party did on Jan. 5," sad Hoffman, pointing to the Idaho Republican Central Committee's resolution to oppose setting up an Idaho-operated exchange. The GOP joined the Idaho Farm Bureau and Hoffman's foundation in calling for Otter to change his mind. And Hoffman told Citydesk that if Otter doesn't change his mind, maybe the Legislature will put the ultimate roadblock in front of any possible exchange.

"When we explain the reasons that the exchange and the Affordable Care Act is bad public policy, legislators seem to gravitate to our reasoning," he said. "We tend to carry the day in that argument."