Alongside an often ambitious and even impressive program in Dirk Kempthorne's Monday State of the State speech, sits an odd and puny abdication, of what probably is the hottest subject in Idaho politics at the moment.
That is property taxes, which for many homeowners have been rising fast. The reasons don't have to do with any sudden leaps in spending by local governments (which in Idaho are almost exclusively the recipient of property taxes); the aggregate amount of property taxes paid has been rising but not superfast. The increase in residential payment has more to do with the way the property taxes are - under state law, and the counties have scarcely any room for discretion - supposed to be assessed, and the way exemptions are doled out. Those have had the effect, in steadily increasing fashion over the last generation, of diminishing the share paid by business and other organizations, and increasing the share paid by the residential sector.
Kempthorne's central comment on this: "If citizens believe they are paying too much in property taxes, that debate belongs in the county courthouses and the city halls."
Not, in other words, with the legislators who write the property tax law. Consider not (then) how the tax is assessed, or whether various taxpayers are paying their fair share, only whether another meatax can be swung at it.
That was not all he had to say about it; for the aged and disabled he offered another government assistance program. And he didn't warn of a veto if lawmakers choose to revise the law.
But his message evidently was: If you're taking on the property tax, you're going to do it on your own.