Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Republican standoff

In the tussle over Governor Otter's proposed gas tax, it's come to this. The Gov and the Senate are aligned against the House, in what has become a power struggle between the moderates and the wingers.

Otter is legitimately trying to drum up an ongoing revenue source for road repair, and the House is having none of it, ostensibly because they don't want raise taxes in a bad economy. But that's just an excuse. It's all about the power.

I understand that Lawrence Denny and Mike Moyle backed Norm Semanko when he ousted Kirk Sullivan as the Republican party chair, and of course, Sullivan was Otter's guy. So there's that. The Senate, being composed of Senators as it is, has much ego on the line, and doesn't want the unwashed masses in the House to have the upper hand on them. So it has sided with the Gov against the House.

To save face, Otter has to get more than the $68 mil offered up last year, and the House seems determined to stick it to him because he rejected the $68 mil as too little. Otter has moved around and offered various alternatives in the gas tax effort, but the House isn't buying any of it.
Here's how you can tell it's all about power, despite the excuses. Otter's most recent offer delays implementation of the fuel tax for 2 years. House leadership rejects that saying, paraphrased, "We've got two legislative sessions before that tax would take effect, and we don't know what the economy will do. It's prudent to study the matter, and if things get better, we can enact something in one of those upcoming sessions, and still have a tax in place by when the Governor proposes it to start."

That sounds reasonable, at first glance. However, flip the argument and you'll see it's completely bogus. If the House wanted to compromise, it would throw the Gov a bone and accept the proposal. If the economy isn't in shape by the second session, they could repeal the tax before it takes effect. That would meet the Gov half way and would respond to their concern about the economy. Agreement reached; Gov gets his road money, House gets a chance to protect the taxpayers.

But no, the House is going to continue to try to rub the Gov's nose in it and refuse ANY compromise. Schism in the Idaho Republican Party ensues.

Update; of course, I'm late again. The Unequivocal Notion has links to more, as well as numerous other interesting links. Check it out, if you haven't.

Working for Idaho. John Miller

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