A few takeaways from today’s Senate Transportation meeting

Here are some takeaways from today’s Senate Transportation Committee hearing on House Majority Leader Mike Moyle’s huge tax package, which the committee sent to the floor with no recommendation:

1. Moyle wanted it to go to the amending order. Short of the committee endorsing it with a do-pass recommendation, Moyle told me he wanted to see the senators send it to the amending order. “I’d rather have them radiator cap it,” Moyle said, so the House and Senate can have a real discussion about what senators are willing to pass. As far his take on the passage to the floor with no recommendation, “that’s a motion to kill it,” he told me.

2. Not everyone was comfortable with the limited discussion. After 30 short minutes of testimony on the bill — a remarkably small amount of time considering the wide breadth and complexity of proposals in the legislation — committee members made three motions: one to send to the floor with a do-pass recommendation (a motion that died for lack of a second), one to send to the floor with no recommendation (the motion that ultimately passed), and a motion by Sen. Bob Nonini to hold it in the committee for further discussion. Though Sen. Lori Den Hartog seconded his motion, the committee still voted to send it to the floor.

3. Nearly everyone wants to split the issues. In case you missed it, there is a lot to process in House Bill 311. In addition to transportation funding, there is also a grocery tax repeal and a flat income tax. Wayne Hammon, Executive Director of Idaho Associated General Contractors, said he’s glad to see widespread support for transportation funding, even if not everyone agrees on specifics. Still, he added, “I’d prefer the issues each stand on their own merit.” Senate Assistant Majority Leader Chuck Winder said though he supports both transportation funding and grocery tax repeal, “I don’t want them co-mingled,” he said.

4. We might be in for a long evening. Winder told me it’s possible the Senate will take up the issue this afternoon. The Senate was due to reconvene at 3 pm, so we could be here for a while.

Stay tuned for updates.

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