WINDING DOWN THE SESSION – Rep. Karey Hanks
We are in the last days of the 2017 Legislative session. It is a sit and wait game, if you will. The Senate passed 1206 on Tuesday morning. This bill includes up to $300 million in GARVEE bonding. Other components include a Strategic Initiative and a surplus eliminator extension. And, we learned about “water GARVEE.” If you have no idea what these terms mean, you are not alone. Unfortunately, this is a good example of the complexity of funding formulas, and the bill we are asked to pass on THE LAST DAY of session. Without this monstrosity passing, we will still have funding to repair roads. The question in my mind: “Do we really want to add additional indebtedness for our children and grandchildren?” It’s a long term bond (approximately 17 years) and we have other options.
We have 4 other bills, including 2 appropriations, on the House floor awaiting action, on this Tuesday, the 28th.
A 40+ page oil and gas bill was introduced and passed last week, with very little time for public or our scrutiny. We also voted on a 20 page wage garnishment bill, and many appropriation bills.
GROCERY TAX REPEAL
The House and Senate voted to repeal the Grocery tax in our state. Several people testified for this repeal in Revenue & Tax committee, including representatives from the Idaho Interfaith Council on Hunger, Idaho farmers’ markets, and Gem State Patriots. Points included making healthy choices cheaper and that this is a regressive tax that affects low wage earners the most. Legislators commented that many individuals in border towns travel to nearby states to make purchases. If the governor signs HB67, we will join 37 other states that have no (or reduced) sales tax on groceries, using SNAP definition. Please contact Gov. Otter to sign HB67.
I look forward to returning home to District 35 this week. Boise is a great city, but I’m a country girl and I miss my family, friends and neighbors. I plan to visit several elementary schools in the next 2 months, to deliver Steps for Schools checks and balls from our Fitbit competition, donated by Blue Cross foundation. I want to meet with citizens in our counties, so I will be notifying you about upcoming meetings. STAY TUNED!