The Idaho Legislature stands ready to adjourn for the year on Wednesday following final approval of a $320 million road maintenance plan early Tuesday evening.
The roads bill narrowly passed the Senate on Tuesday morning and won easy House approval around 6:30 p.m. That bill now heads to the governor.
The House also approved a last-gasp income tax cut that heads back to the Senate for a vote to concur. The Senate will take that vote Wednesday morning. The House also will reconvene Wednesday to attend to its final business for the year.
The Legislature worked toward adjournment Tuesday in typical end-of-session fashion, with both houses convening intermittently throughout the day for brief bursts of activity interspersed with long recesses while lawmakers caucused on the remaining bills. Most of the activity occurred in the House, which also gave final passage to a $52 million relief bill in emergency aid to counties that suffered extreme weather-related damage this winter. That package includes money for damaged roads and bridges and now heads to the governor for his signature.
House lawmakers resurrected an income-tax cut proposal from earlier in the session that was completely reworked as a repeal of the sales tax on grocery food and approved by both houses. Amending an unrelated tax bill, lawmakers tacked on a one-tenth-of-one-percent reduction in the corporate income tax and all seven personal income tax brackets. That original bill, reducing the unemployment tax paid by employers, had been held strategically in the House expressly for that purpose.
The Senate must vote Wednesday on whether to concur with the changes to the income tax bill. If it does, the Legislature will have sent two likely competing tax cuts to Gov. Butch Otter, who has told lawmakers he opposes the grocery tax repeal.
The grocery tax repeal passed with what could be enough votes to override a possible veto — but the governor could issue a veto after the Legislature adjourns for the year.