Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mother Idaho’s apron strings

The state of Idaho treats its residents like kids who lack the sound judgement to make decisions on their own behalf.

The Legislature has consistently refused to allow city or county residents to impose local-option sales taxes even if voters approve them.

A statewide business coalition is mulling whether to try to seize this authority with a voter initiative. We hope it does.

In 2008, the Idaho Senate killed a bill authorizing cities and counties to impose local-option sales taxes between .10 percent and 1 percent with two-thirds voter approval.

The sales tax revenue could have been used for "any city or county purpose" spelled out clearly to voters.

The high bar of approval, along with requirements for a public hearing and a detailed explanation of how the tax proceeds would be spent, should have allayed fears of frivolous tax hikes. It didn't.

Legislators chose instead to keep cities and counties firmly attached to Mother Idaho's apron strings.

After all, if voters could choose to impose taxes on themselves they might go hog wild. Boise, Nampa and Caldwell might build a light-rail system to relieve dangerously clogged freeways. Small communities might improve roads, bridges and sidewalks or emergency daycare or recreation services. Crazy, huh?

Idaho's conservative legislature is famous for passing memorials to Congress demanding more control in the name of "states' rights." It's more than ironic that Gov. Butch Otter and the Legislature refuse to believe that city and county voters are smart enough to control even one-tenth of 1 percent of their own destiny—even if they pay for it themselves.

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.