Idaho Legislature Special Session Issues That Can’t Be Ignored
Multiple media outlets have begun to speculate that the Idaho Legislature will return to Boise for a special session. You may wonder what would cause the state's part-time legislative body to call itself back into session. Is there a crisis that can't wait until after the November elections? Or when the new legislative session begins in January?
Remember, this is the same political body that ignored the pleas from thousands of Idahoans who lost their jobs over employers mandating vaccination or termination. Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin called on the legislature to return when Idaho's gas prices began to rise in hopes of suspending the state's tax on gasoline. Her efforts were ignored, so why would the legislature consider returning if there isn't a crisis?
The state has too much money and wants to give taxpayers another tax cut. However, other groups believe the governor will use the special session to drive more dollars to the state's school system. Reclaim Idaho has successfully placed a referendum that will appear on the November ballot that will raise your taxes and send more money to Idaho's public education system. Currently, over half the general fund is spent on education.
Here are a few more pressing items we'd like the legislature to tackle if they reconvene in Boise.
Fire Prevention/Forrest Management
Nearly 8,000 acres of land have been destroyed near McCall, thanks to the Four Corners Fire. Residents are being evacuated because of the danger from the ever-expanding fire. The Moose Fire has grown to 144 miles and is the state's largest. Every year Idahoans suffer under the threat that 'fire season' will cost them their homes and livelihoods. Isn't it time for the legislature to allocate additional large sums of money for preventing these fires? More money could be used to help buy more firefighting equipment that could eliminate the growth of these wildfires every year.
Two representatives were ignored during the last legislative session when they proposed the state suspend the gasoline tax to help Idahoans deal with the rising cost of gasoline. Idaho continues to be one of the highest price states for fuel in the country. Why not vote for a six-month gas tax suspension to help the folks? Or better yet, fund an alternative to the one pipeline that fuels gasoline reserves.
Property Tax Relief
It will take more than a special session to deal with the number one issue facing every Idahoan. Politicians promised relief but have failed to help folks losing their homes due to excessive taxation.
Elimination of the Grocery Tax
Idaho politicians campaigned on this issue several years ago. They promised that the grocery tax would be voted out if they were elected. It has been over four years, and Idaho continues to be one of the very few states that tax groceries.
Idahoans deserve better representation from their elected officials. If none of these issues are addressed, there is no need for a special session.