RIP TV Caucus?


Last year's session of the Idaho Legislature featured lots of chatter about the possibility of creating a "Treasure Valley caucus," a group of bipartisan lawmakers from the area that would band together on things they all agreed upon.

Today, at least one member of that group said 'fuggedaboudit.'

The group was hyped by the Idaho Statesman, who identified the group in news stories and an editorial. They banded together, most said, to talk about issues ranging from community colleges, growth and air quality.

If the group were to actually work together, most pundits observed, the "great state of Ada" might actually get the clout some of its representatives believe it ought to have.

But Sen. David Langhorst, a Boise Democrat, now says that the group has lost its mojo. His remarks were made this morning at a legislative preview forum sponsored by the Associated Press.

"We did try to build a Treasure Valley caucus," Langhorst said. But, he added, "the folks from the western end of this valley didn't participate, because they viewed it as being a Democratic agenda."

Canyon County is represented by Republicans in the Idaho Legislature.

Langhorst's comments were made in the context of a discussion about local option taxation possibilities, to help local areas decide to tax themselves to spend more money on local transportation issues. The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce is all over this idea, because they're hoping to see the area develop more urban transit options for the congested valley.

You want another wrinkle in that concept? House Speaker Lawerence Denney, a Midvale Republican, said he thinks the ability of local communities to have a local option tax to fund transportation may have to happen in a Constitutional amendment. Doing so would add a year to the process of instituting such a tax, time Denney said would be well spent to "get it right."

But it was Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, an Idaho Falls Republican, who brought the house down by saying he thought that the "stars seem to be more aligned than usual" for the passage of some form of local option tax legislation this year.

"Whether we are in the Age of Aquarius on local option taxing remains to be seen," Davis said.