House Votes for Using Cigarettes to Replenish Idaho Aquifers
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The House voted Friday on a bill to direct millions in tax revenue from Idaho cigarette sales toward Idaho's highways and depleted aquifers. For years, cigarette taxes totaling around $40 million annually helped retire bonds for the $130 million Idaho Capitol renovation. That's in addition to cancer programs, state buildings and juvenile probation. But with the Capitol bonds nearly paid off, there's a scramble for the newly available money. According to Friday's bill that now goes to the Senate, $5 million from taxes on smokes would fund Idaho Department of Water Resources efforts aimed at recharging the depleted Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer. Another $4.7 million will help retire highway construction bonds. And about $7 million that's left over after that in 2015 will cover road maintenance.