Politics & Goverment

Stories about politics, policy, and how government works.

Idaho Exceeds Tax Collection Expectations In April

May 8, 2012
Division of Financial Management

Tax collections were slightly higher than expected for April.  Idaho’s general fund, the state’s main bank account, topped revenue forecasts by $500,000.

Q&A: Who Gets Idaho's Tax Breaks? Why Details Are In The Dark

May 4, 2012
401K / Flickr

StateImpact Idaho has rolled out a series of stories this week on tax incentive transparency in Idaho.  That is, what is and isn’t public information when it comes to business tax credits and exemptions. 

Almost always, tax incentives are created in the name of economic development.  But in Idaho, little information is available about whether these incentives create jobs and grow companies. 

Scott Graf talks with StateImpact reporter Emilie Ritter Saunders about the lack of transparency surrounding Idaho's business tax incentives. 

Greg LeRoy is the executive director of Good Jobs First. / Good Jobs First

Good Jobs First is a non-partisan, non-profit government transparency advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.  It was founded in 1998 by Greg LeRoy, who is now executive director. LeRoy has been studying tax incentive transparency for more than two decades.  We recently spoke with him to learn more about what he considers ‘transparent enough,’ and what states are doing to open incentive information to the public. 

Q: What is transparent enough? What should people have the right to see?

Aaron Kunz / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Governor C. L. "Butch" Otter (R) is in Utah Friday to meet with other chief executives from neighboring states.  It’s the first ever meeting of what’s called the Rocky Mountain Roundtable.  They discussed common issues like public lands, water resources, and endangered species. 

http://www.uidaho.edu/

Boise State’s Andrus Center for Public Policy has a new director. David Adler will take the reins of the nonpartisan center in July. Adler has spent the past two years as founding director of the McClure Center for Public Policy at the University of Idaho. Before that he taught political science at Idaho State University.

Northwestern Lawmakers Tweak Postal Reform Bill

Apr 26, 2012

Rural post offices in the Northwest would remain open through the November elections under a bill approved by the U.S. Senate Wednesday. The measure includes an amendment aimed at preserving Washington and Oregon’s vote-by-mail systems. 

To get out of the red, postal administrators want to overhaul the agency. Their plan calls for closing dozens of facilities in the Northwest. That could slow delivery speeds.

A bill to protect victims of domestic violence comes up for a vote this week in the U.S. Senate.  Some Senate Republicans oppose the legislation because it expands prosecutorial powers for native American tribes, and adds protection for battered illegal immigrants, gays, and lesbians. 

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)  is a co-sponsor of the bill.  He says the provisions that have been criticized aren’t central to the legislation.   “I believe these are critical programs that need to be re-authorized and I’m going to be a strong advocate for it.” 

Office of Rep. Raul Labrador

A new book coming out today contains an inside account of Idaho Congressman Raúl Labrador’s conflict with ranking members of the House. The Washington Post reports the book details the rift between GOP leadership and freshman Republicans pursuing a Tea Party agenda.

The book in question is “Do Not Ask What Good We Do,” by Robert Draper. In it, Draper chronicles infighting between the GOP old-guard and the freshmen class of Republican House members that helped the party gain a majority in 2010.

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador participated in what's called "Conversations with Conservatives" Tuesday. It was the second in a new monthly event for Congress’s most conservative Republicans. Labrador is one of the organizers along with Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Jeff Landry of Louisiana. Today Labrador had some advice for Mitt Romney. Labrador said if Romney gets the Republican nomination for president he’ll need help from the people involved with Conversations for Conservatives.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Tax evasion will get you into hot water with the IRS. But in north Idaho, it won’t necessarily spell the end of your political career. A Republican state legislator who believes the federal income tax is unconstitutional is battling charges of tax evasion, even as he seeks re-election.

Pew Center on the States

A new 55-page report from The Pew Center on the States shows most states don’t really know if business tax incentives are boosting job growth.

Idaho Democratic Party

Four years ago, thousands of voters lined up around the state to participate in Idaho’s Democratic Caucus.  Back then, the race between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was still going strong.  This year the caucus tomorrow is more of a foregone conclusion, but the party still wants voters to turn out.  

imacgyv0r / Flickr

A group that opposes same-sex marriage is taking its boycott of Starbucks to the other side of the world. The National Organization For Marriage is upset that the Seattle-based coffee chain has come out in favor of legalizing gay marriage in Washington state as well as nationally.

The "Dump Starbucks" campaign got under way last month in the U.S.. Now, the group behind the boycott attempt is running an online ad campaign in local languages in the Middle East, Indonesia and China.

Session Wrap: Democrat’s ‘IJOBS’ Fails, Again

Apr 5, 2012
Betsy Russell / Spokesman Review

Democrats in the Idaho Legislature again offered a slate of bills they said would boost economic growth and add jobs to the economy.

They dubbed it ‘IJOBS’, and it’s not the first time they’ve attempted to get similar measures through.  Democrats introduced the first round of IJOBS bills back in 2010.  They all failed.

Session Wrap: Lawmakers Expand Tax Exemptions

Apr 4, 2012
smcgee / Flickr

Free samples of beer and wine are now tax-free.  So are parts for some airplanes that are worked on in Idaho.

Lawmakers expanded and added new tax exemptions during the 2012 session, adding to a growing list (exemptions start on page 41).

Lets start with the new.  Continue reading....

Pages