BOOM! Gov. Otter’s Veto Comes TOO LATE!
Grocery Tax Repeal Is Legal
by Shari Dovale
“Unfortunately for the Governor, but fortunately for Idaho citizens, the Governor’s veto came too late.” ~Rep. Ron Nate
Gov. Butch Otter has been very clear that he did not like the grocery tax repeal bill that was overwhelmingly passed by both the Senate and the House during the final days of the Idaho Legislative session.
HB67a passed the Senate by 71% and the House by 73%, making it popular on both sides of the political aisle.
Otter has said that he expected to veto this bill, however, he waited to do so. Speculation as to his reasoning was rampant over social media.
Whatever the reasons he had for delaying his veto were not good enough because he miscalculated the timing required.
The session ended officially on March 29, 2017 at noon. This gave him 10 days, excluding Sundays, to sign the veto of the bill. That deadline was April 10, 2017 at noon.
Rep. Ron Nate and Rep. Bryan Zollinger explained the details of this missed deadline, and it’s importance, in the video below.
We applaud these Liberty Legislators and their hard work for the people of Idaho. They are standing up for their oaths of office and support of our Constitution.
We now call on the Idaho Secretary of State to do the same. Please contact Secretary of State Lawerence Denney at (208) 334-2300 or (208) 334-2852 and tell him of your support.
Here is the text of Rep. Ron Nate‘s comments:
Veto of Grocery Tax Bill Came Too Late
When the legislature convened on January 9th of this year, its members were informed of a budget surplus exceeding $100 million. Since the opening day, the legislature spent up the surplus, borrowed $300 million more in GARVEE bonds for roads, and only in the waning days of the session seriously looked at returning some of the surplus to taxpayers. Because of the nearly 10% increases in spending already appropriated over last year’s budget, there seemed no way to provide meaningful tax relief this year. There was little money left for a tax cut.
This brings us to House bill 67a; the grocery tax repeal bill. It removes sales taxes on all Idahoans’ grocery purchases and repeals the clunky grocery tax credit on income taxes. The grocery tax repeal is popular among Idaho citizens, and it promises to lower their tax liability by nearly $80 million (on net), but not beginning until 2018. The exemption of the sales tax on groceries is the only real tax relief this legislature was willing to send to the governor for approval.
By large margins, the bill easily passed both chambers of the Idaho legislature. The Senate by 71%, and the House by nearly 73%. The bill arrived at the governor’s desk at 12:05pm on March 31st.
Yesterday, the governor informed the Secretary of State he disapproved of H67 and therefore vetoed it. Unfortunately for the governor, but fortunately for Idaho taxpayers, the governor’s veto came too late. H67 became law at 12 noon on Monday, April 10th, exactly 10 days (except for Sundays) after the Idaho Legislature had adjourned Sine Die for the 2017 session.
The Idaho Constitution is clear. Please allow me to read the pertinent section. Article 4, Section 10 concludes as follows:
SECTION 10. VETO POWER. Every bill passed by the legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor. If he approve, he shall sign it, and thereupon it shall become a law; but if he do not approve, he shall return it with his objections to the house in which it originated, which house shall enter the objections at large upon its journals and proceed to reconsider the bill. If then two-thirds (2/3) of the members present agree to pass the same, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered: and if approved by two-thirds (2/3) of the members present in that house, it shall become a law, notwithstanding the objections of the governor. In all such cases the vote of each house shall be determined by yeas and nays, to be entered on the journal. Any bill which shall not be returned by the governor to the legislature within five (5) days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, shall become a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the legislature shall, by adjournment, prevent its return, in which case it shall be filed, with his objections, in the office of the secretary of state within ten (10) days after such adjournment (Sundays excepted) or become a law.
Ten days after our March 29th adjournment (Sundays excepted) was Monday, April 10th at 12 noon. This is precisely the time and date for H67a becoming Idaho Law according to the Idaho Constitution, Article 4, Section 10.
We fully anticipate the Governor will attempt to argue there is Idaho Supreme Court precedent for his untimely veto, by referring to the narrow 3-2 Idaho Supreme Court Decision of Cenarrusa v. Andrus, 99 Idaho 404 (1978). However, in the dissenting opinion in the case, Judge Donaldson wrote, “Within ten days after adjournment means exactly what it says. The other way to veto a bill is within five days after presentment. In this case the Governor did neither.” We agree; the Constitution is clear on this matter.
Therefore, we urge the Secretary of State to honor his Oath of Office to uphold the Constitution of the State of Idaho and therefore certify House Bill 67 as law as mandated by the plain language of the Constitution. Accordingly, we have prepared and submitted this letter asking the Secretary of State to acknowledge the new law of the land in Idaho regarding tax free purchases of groceries.
We are prepared to pursue all legal avenues necessary to ensure the Constitution is adhered to and to make certain the grocery tax repeal bill takes effect as Idaho law already requires. Rules are rules, and the Constitution is clear. Ten days is the time window, and the Governor allowed it to expire.
We appreciate the efforts of the Idaho legislature, especially Senator Cliff Bayer who drafted and advanced the grocery tax repeal. We wish the Governor had straightaway agreed with the fiscally conservative policy of reducing tax burdens on Idahoans, but we are all fortunate the Idaho Constitution protects Idahoans from a governor who unnecessarily delays his decisions or plays games with the veto process.
This is a historic day for Idaho families! For too long Idahoans have paid more taxes by comparison than neighboring states. Idaho will now be more livable for Idahoans, and more attractive to potential Idahoans. Idaho families will have more money to spend on groceries and other goods. The economy and will grow and Idahoans will prosper, by keeping more of their hard-earned dollars.