transit tax bill
Express Staff Writer
A bill that
would be a key factor in funding public transportation in Blaine County
died an early death, when the Idaho Legislatureís Revenue and Taxation
Committee voted that it should not go to the House of Representatives for
to the committee by House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, the
bill would give resort areas the option to create a sales tax of up to .5
percent to pay for public transportation and roads. Sixty-percent approval
by county voters would be required for the tax.
confident last week that most committee members favored the bill, even
though Chairwoman Dolores Crow "hates it because she thinks itís a
tax increase." But the bill was narrowly defeated 10 to 8 with one
member absent Monday.
key to making any progress (with implementing public transportation in
Blaine County) is to have a funding source, and that legislation would be
a key funding source," said Beth Callister, the director of Wood
River Rideshare and the person who has been trying to start a commuter bus
service between Bellevue and Ketchum.
The bus was
scheduled to begin operation Feb. 1, but has been delayed because not
enough money is available for the $108,000 annual cost.
committee members voted against the bill because they saw it as a tax
increase. Jaquet called that thinking faulty because the bill would only
give local communities the option to decide to tax themselves.
Crow, a Republican from Nampa, was not available for comment.
make the bill more palatable to opponents, Jaquet planned to limit its
application to counties with 40,000 or fewer residents. And she included a
provision that would make the tax option available for roadway
improvements, not just public transportation.
counties that could have used the tax include Bonner, Nez Perce, Bingham,
Latah and Valley.
needed for an all-day, Bellevue-to-Ketchum commuter bus and a local
circulator bus in Hailey and Bellevue would be about $703,000.
percent sales tax could raise around $1.5 million.