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Thu March 29, 2012
Idaho Lawmakers Finish Session With $35 Million Tax Cut
Idaho lawmakers wrapped up the 2012 session Thursday. The House of Representatives adjourned first. The Senate took much longer as lawmakers signed off on key pieces of legislation and said their goodbyes.
For Idaho Senators, debates on new ethics rules and tax cuts occupied the afternoon. By the evening, they were saying their farewells. Sen. Denton Darrington (R-Declo) has served the longest in the Senate. This session was his last. “Mr President, members of the Senate. I’ve waited thirty years for this," said Darrington. "It’s a day I’ve not looked forward to. Some of you have.”
This session was also the last for Sen. Nicole LeFavour (D-Boise). She served four years in the Senate and four years in the House. The only openly gay member of the Idaho Statehouse is now running for Mike Simpson’s Congressional seat. “I leave here very proud of having served here and of having gotten to speak,” LeFavour said. “And for having learned so much from all of you. So thank you for that. I will miss you.”
Speaker of the House Lawerence Denney (R-Midvale) summed up the past 81 days by saying, “It was bumpy at times, but I think in the end it came out okay.” Denney added, “With the revenue being up a little bit, we were able to backfill some of the education. We were able to make an investment in future business with the tax cut.”
House Minority Leader Rep. John Rusche (D-Lewiston) wasn’t surprised by how the session turned out. His biggest disappointment had to do with tax cuts. Rusche said, “I thought that the big budget issue was going to be how much money to put into reserves and how much, frankly to put back into education. I never really anticipated a tax cut.”
One of the last issues lawmakers voted on was a tax cut for corporations and Idaho’s highest income earners. Cuts totaling $35 million.