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Local Option Tax May Be Revived After 2008 Failure

A consortium of Idaho business people have resurrected a failed idea from the 2008 Legislature that for many still holds the allure of helping communities address local needs while boosting their economies: Letting residents vote to tax themselves to expand public transit or build roads.

Former Albertsons Inc. Chief Executive Officer Gary Michael, property manager Skip Oppenheimer and Republican consultant Jason Lehosit are among those mulling a 2012 ballot initiative on local option sales tax authority.

Three years ago, legislation died after Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and House GOP lawmakers insisted on constitutional restrictions that proponents couldn’t live with.

Michael says the idea re-emerged during informal talks over giving local governments new financing tools.

Foes from 2008 like House Majority Leader Mike Moyle fear it’s another way to hike taxes.

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