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Idaho Politics

Senate fails to overturn Idaho governor’s tax commission veto

BOISE, Idaho (KIFI) - The governor's veto of a bill that would have made changes to how the Idaho Tax Commission is run will stand.

The Senate failed to get enough votes to overturn it Thursday.

The House on Wednesday voted to override 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 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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