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Idaho Lawmaker Suggests Using Sales Tax to Pay for Roads

Benito Baeza

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Republican lawmaker proposes digging into Idaho’s sales tax revenue to fund highway and bridge projects. Rep. Joe Palmer, House Transportation Committee chairman, pitched the idea yesterday. Typically, Idaho pays for roads from fees assessed on gas or vehicle registrations. Palmer’s measure would depart that tradition, but only after Idaho’s revenue reaches certain thresholds. Once general fund income hits $2.91 billion and education funding exceeds $1.4 billion — both pre-recession records — he’d begin taking a slice of the growing sales tax for roads. The bill was introduced, with Nampa Rep. Brandon Hixon lauding it as an “outside of the box” solution. Moscow Democratic Rep. Shirley Ringo was wary. She’ll oppose tapping into general fund dollars until Idaho develops a better track record of adequately supporting public and higher education.

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