The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (2015 Legislature Version)
The Good–Career Ladder Legislation
The Career Ladder bill, arguably the most important piece of legislation this session, was signed by the Governor after flying through the House and Senate with no opposition. Collaboration makes great legislation and once a consensus was reached with leading education groups, the bill’s wheels were greased. Read my blog for a full explanation.
The Bad–Moyle Tax Shift
I called it! My Tax Quiz mentioned the GOP had an itch for a tax cut and Rep. Mike Moyle didn’t disappoint.
Truly a trifecta, this bill addresses three different types of taxes: income tax, grocery tax and tax credit, and fuel tax. The bill would collapse the tax bracket and eliminate the graduated income tax rate to replace it with a flat rate of 6.7%. It would also phase out the sales tax on grocery, thus erasing the grocery tax credit. Finally, it would increase the gas and diesel tax from 7 cents a gallon to 32 cents.
With public education spending still below pre-recession levels, we cannot afford to gouge the general fund anymore. Not only that, but this would increase taxes on the middle class, while lowering the rate for the richest Idahoans. Idaho Democrats started the session with the goal of putting money back into people’s pockets. This does the opposite. You can read the full analysis here.
I’m glad the Senate realized this was bad policy and killed the bill on the Senate Floor. We’re now dealing with the ramifications in a Conference Committee, where we will hopefully come back with better legislation that doesn’t hurt a majority of Idahoans.
The Ugly–HJM 4
Rep. Shepherd presented HJM 4 on the House floor and ugly might be an understatement. The non-binding memorial calls for the impeachment of federal judges who rule in favor of same-sex marriage.
Obviously, Rep. Shepherd doesn’t understand how separation of powers works. Not only was this memorial insulting, but the comparisons made on the Floor were obscene. Thankfully, some House members realized the absolute absurdity of this memorial and joined us in voting against it. The Senate came to their senses and killed the memorial.