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Posts published in “Day: March 9, 2006”

Coming next, on Rev and Tax

You can bet the lobbyists worked out the little calculus that follow about three seconds after Representative Dolores Crow said today she will end her 22 years in the Idaho House, and not seek re-election this year.

Dolores CrowCrow has been the controversial chair of House Revenue and Taxation for some years - the one-person roadblock to a large pile of tax legislation, and a bulwark of her version of conservative tax policy. As such, she's been a major player in Idaho government for most of a decade now. So: Who will replace her?

There's no definitive answer, but some facts are relevant. One is that there will be a new speaker, and no one now knows who that will will be. But as the cheif voice in assigning chairs, that will be an important factor.

The vice-chair on Rev-Tax is Dennis Lake, R-Blackfoot, an agribusiness guy who has impressed many in the House (and beyond) with his fluency with numbers and finance policy, notably in arcane areas that tend to boggle other minds. He has been a leader on the property tax interim committee. Very conservative, but grounded in a professional world view; one imagines him not as as a pushover but possibly as a listener and a compromiser (in the good sense).

He is one possibility for chair, but not the only one, because after this session he will not be the senior member on Rev-Tax. That will be Lenore Hardy Barrett, R-Challis, one of the most edgy and fierce conservatives in the House, who might make Wood look like an indecisive waffler. Her appointment would mean a tax committee in the House somewhat like the last few years, only more so.

The stakes rise.

No one home

One early and fair measure of political effectiveness, at the opening stages of campaign season, is this: How well do the parties fare in filling all the ballot spots in their state?

In Oregon, with candidate filing now closed, we now can evaluate the ballot spot vacancies for the parties. Overall report card: Both parties did well, installing candidates for most substantial state positions.

There is, certainly, no lack of candidates for governor: three Democrats and no fewer than eight Republicans (though just three of those can realistically be considered serious contenders). Both parties have candidates for all five U.S. House seats (though, at the moment, none of the races shows signs of being very close).

Of the 15 Senate and 60 House legislative seats up for election - 75 in all, or 150 ballot positions - the parties filled all but 13 slots - leaving fewer than 10% uncontested. (Some of those could be filled through election of write-ins at the primary election in May.)

Should be noted that those open spots are not evenly devided. Democrats account for four open spots, all House races, while Republicans account for nine (one in the Senate, the rest for the House). In the tight race for control this year, that gives Democrats a slight but instant edge.