The Idaho Statesman editorialized today that because the balky Idaho Legislature doesn't want to address local option taxing authority, citizens may need to take on the job ourselves.
Resistant and obstinate pretty much sums up the Legislature's sorry track record on local-option taxes. If the Legislature doesn't pass local-option legislation in the remaining weeks of the 2008 session, it is time for supporters to take their case to the people. They have a good case to make.
A voter-approved local sales tax can help communities address their looming transportation needs, in their own way. A Treasure Valley approach - one that combines roadwork with enhanced bus service and securing rights-of-way for commuter rail - might not work elsewhere. That's the inherent advantage of local-option taxes. This attribute seems lost on legislators who espouse support for local control, but balk at allowing local taxing authority
The paper doesn't like the idea of amending the state Constitution to allow local option, as some Republicans are pushing.
An amendment is a tough proposition, requiring two-thirds support both in the House and the Senate and voter approval in November.
An amendment might placate conservatives who would prefer to lock local-option language into the Constitution, but an amendment is clearly unnecessary in a state that already allows local taxing authority in limited circumstances.
If an amendment proves too narrow or unworkable, it would be cumbersome or impossible to repair.
But the newspaper admitted that there are problems with the initiative approach, too. Click here to read the whole editorial.