Friday, May 1, 2009

Jaquet: Legislature will continue next week

Governor, House tussle over fuel tax

Express Staff Writer

Today is the 111th day of the 2009 Idaho Legislature. State Rep. Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, on a short break from her work at the Capitol, said Thursday that her work is not done.

"I expect to fly back Sunday night and be there Monday morning," Jaquet said. "It is highly unlikely that any side has backed down from their position."

A major reason for the extended session is a struggle over how to pay for transportation improvements in Idaho. Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter has asked for $75 million for various projects. He wants to implement a fuel tax of 3 cents this year and 3 cents next year—for a total of 6 cents in 2010—to generate the funding. Although Senate Republicans support Otter, House Republicans oppose the measure and are offering only $30 million.


Jaquet believes the stalemate is more a battle of wills than about tax increases.

"It is a fight of egos and a little bit of a fight about who controls the Republican Party," Jaquet said.

As a result, Jaquet does not see an end in sight.

"We could be there until June, if (House Republicans) don't back down."

Elected to the House in 1994, Jaquet is in her first year on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, a bi-partisan group consisting of members from both the House and Senate. From 1998 to 2008, she served as House minority leader.

"I really enjoyed being on JFAC," Jaquet said. "People have affirmed my participation, which is really nice. It's really rewarding to work on the budgets and then to go on the floor and present them and pass them."

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