Gov. Butch Otter made no mention of local option taxing authority in his State of the State address today - a somewhat surprising fact considering the issue is one of the most critical to the Treasure Valley. But with many local officials from both parties lining up behind the idea, here's hoping it will get a fair hearing and that the Legislature and Otter will give Idahoans the right to decide on the issue.
Update 1/10/07: The Democratic caucus, in its repsonse to Otter's address, had this to say Tuesday ..."This legislature also must recognize the fact that much of the state is becoming more urban. As such, cities and counties need to have the tools that allows them to plan smartly for the growth that is coming. Local option taxes that would pay for public transit could prevent the kind of Los Angeles sprawl that ruined the natural beauty of their area. Let’s not let Idaho become another California."
Read all of Otter's address here and all of the Democratic response here. I don't think local option taxing authority is a partisan issue so much as a rural-urban issue (especially given the gravity of air quality on the decision, as yossarian_22 suggests in the comment below), and, I submit, a libertarian-communitarian issue.