The Idaho House covets the leverage it holds over the Senate its ability to craft tax law. Such legislation starts in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee. The Senates penchant for rewriting and toning down some tax legislation is a frequent irritant to House conservatives.
Should he win election next week, Clifford Bayer would have a foot in both camps. Bayer, a Boise Republican, now sits on the Revenue and Taxation Committee. But Bayer is among eight House members who could be elected to the Senate.
With his unique perspective and his measured lawmaking approach, Bayer could be a constructive player on tax issues. For that he earns our endorsement for Senate in southern Ada Countys District 21.
Bayer was a leading sponsor of a 2008 law to increase the grocery tax credit, over several years. The $10-a-year increase may go unnoticed by many Idahoans, but its a good template for affordable, incremental tax relief.
The 2013 Legislature could debate a similar concept: reducing the personal property tax businesses pay on equipment, supplies and furnishings. Some lawmakers, including Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, are talking about a six-year phaseout. Bayer favors an incremental phaseout and hes a voice of experience on the concept.
With 10 years in the House, including time on the budget-writing Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, Bayer is a strong pick over Democrat Kirsten Hooker, who did not meet with our editorial board.
DISTRICT 21 HOUSE SEAT A
No-shows, no endorsement. Republican Steven Harris did not respond to an invitation to meet with the editorial board. Democrat Craig Kreiser responded, but didnt show up for one appointment and canceled a second appointment not a good sign from a new candidate.
TOM DAYLEY, DISTRICT 21 HOUSE SEAT B
Dayleys political resume is extensive, including stops at three federal agencies and the Idaho Department of Agriculture, as well as staff work for Republicans Larry Craig, Dirk Kempthorne and Steve Symms.
Consistent with his background in governing, hes deliberative and systematic. He says it could be useful to repeal the personal property tax, but he prefers a holistic and needed review of the overall tax code. Were also encouraged by his Statesman voter guide response on ethics. A legislative structure needs to be created to monitor the ethics of legislators and other state officials. Hes a solid pick in this open race.
SHARON FISHER, DISTRICT 22 HOUSE SEAT B
Fisher is no stranger to state issues. As a graduate student, she served an internship with JFAC. Shes a repeat House candidate and proven policy wonk a fixture on the Boise social media scene, commenting on legislative issues and, generally, embracing the Democrats agenda.
In and of itself, an active Twitter account does not a qualified candidate make. But it shows this much: In this open race, Fishers command of the issues and immersion in state policy stand out.
Republican Jason Monks, a former Meridian mayoral candidate, proved tougher to read. Like most newcomers, he told the Statesman editorial board that he would have a modest first-term agenda. Theres nothing wrong with that. But that was contradicted in the voter guide, when Monks floated a radical and regressive plan to convert all Idaho taxation to a flat tax or sales tax. If a newcomer is going to dream big, wed like to see a newcomer dream big on something fair and workable. The edge, for pragmatism, goes to Fisher.
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