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House votes to override Idaho governor’s tax commission veto

Idaho

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BOISE (AP) — The House on Wednesday voted to override Republican Gov. Brad Little’s veto of a bill involving the responsibilities of the chairman of the Idaho State Tax Commission and the three other commissioners.

Lawmakers in the Republican-dominated chamber voted 62-7 on Wednesday with Democratic support to override the veto issued last week. An override requires two-thirds of lawmakers in favor. The chamber initially voted 66-1 in February to approve the measure.

The bill now goes to the Senate for a possible override vote. The Senate last month voted 23-9 to approve the measure when it first appeared in that chamber.

The state tax commission is an executive branch agency. The governor appoints the commission’s chairman as well as the commission’s three other commissioner positions. Two commissioners are from each political party. The commission is responsible for informing taxpayers of their obligations. It also enforces Idaho’s laws involving the payment of taxes.

The legislation would require the approval of commissioners when the chairman makes certain administrative decisions. It would also allow commissioners to request that the commission vote on unilateral decisions made by the chairman.

Little in his veto message said the legislation would add red tape that goes against his core belief of good government.

“The legislation adds a burdensome level of bureaucracy and uncertainty, which I fear will only complicate and slow the Tax Commission’s ability to accomplish its important mission,” Little wrote.

But lawmakers said that voters want a four-member independent commission that won’t be overly influenced by a governor by concentrating too much power in the chairman.

“What we risk is allowing the good gentleman on the second floor (the governor) to take his prerogative to choose the chairman of that four-member commission as a way of circumventing the independence that commission is supposed to have from the governor’s office,” said Republican Rep. Greg Chaney. “We have a buffer in the Constitution against excessive partisanship in implementation of tax policy that is being rendered moot.”

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