The Idaho Legislature inched closer to adjournment Monday with action on tax cuts and transportation funding, setting up possible session-ending final votes for Tuesday.
A revised, roughly $320 million funding package for roads squeezed through a Senate committee by one vote and moved to the Senate floor.
In the House, lawmakers concurred with a Senate-amended bill to eliminate the sales tax on store-bought food and the accompanying grocery tax rebate.
The food tax repeal now heads to Gov. Butch Otter, who has opposed it but has not indicated whether he would veto it. The bill passed in both houses by veto-proof margins, although just barely in the Senate.
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The House still has another tax cut bill pending on its calendar. It last week resurrected an earlier income tax cut proposal, tacking it onto a bill to reduce the unemployment tax for employers.
The funding package for roads is a reworking of earlier proposals, tweaked to address concerns in the governor’s office and the House over allocations for state police, use of sales tax revenue and timing of when funds would be drawn. The biggest element — $300 million borrowed against future federal payments to fund construction now — remains unchanged.
“This is a much compromised bill, including a lot of input from the colleagues across the rotunda,” Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, told the Senate Transportation Committee.
Despite strong support and consensus between houses, the bill passed the committee by only one vote, 5-4. The full Senate will take up the measure Tuesday morning. If it passes, it will immediately move to the House for a final vote, and possible Tuesday adjournment.