Feb 26 2007

What Otter forbids

Published by at 9:07 pm under Idaho

There hasn’t been much notice of the substance because the bill in question sounds so boring, but we’ll note here that Idaho Governor Butch Otter has issued a veto. (The fact of the veto has gotten some attention; the substance, little.) It’s just one veto (so far) to the 33 or so bills he has thus far signed into law, and it doesn’t portend any great political conflict. But as it offers an indicator of priorities, let’s pause for a moment.

The measure in question is House Bill 8, and the short legislative description of it is that it “Amends existing law to provide that a notice of levy and distraint be sent by regular first class mail instead of certified mail when collecting state taxes.” (Please don’t fall asleep; this gets a little more interesting.) It generated no major debate; it passed the Idaho House 64-2 and the Senate 35-0.

It was a small-government, or cut-government-cost, measure, proposed by the State Tax Commission (whose members are appointed by the governor). Here is its statement of purpose: “Current law requires the Tax Commission to send a notice of levy to taxpayers by certified mail. This costs about $28,000 annually to send more than 10,000 notices. Almost half are returned as refused or unclaimed. Changing the certified mail requirement to first class mail will likely result in more taxpayers actually receiving the notice more cost effectively.”

So . . . what’s the rationale outweighing this?

Here’s the core of Otter’s veto statement, explaining:

House Bill 008 proposes a single change to Idaho Code section 63-3061A as it relates to the notice a taxpayer receives when property is seized to satisfy debt for past taxes, interest, and penalties. The change would allow the Idaho State Tax Commission to provide notice to a property owner by first class mail, instead of certified mail.

It is anticipated that the Idaho State Tax Commission could save up to $25,000 in operation costs under this proposed change. I strongly encourage saving tax dollars and achieving cost savings within state government; however, this specific cost savings is minimal and inappropriate compared with the potential costs to property owners across Idaho.

Idaho has a long tradition of protecting and promoting private property rights. The Idaho Constitution sets forth the inalienable right to acquire, possess and protect property. This right is paramount to a free and prosperous society. To that end, there are many processes established under state law to protect property and an owner’s interests in it.

Title 63, section 3061A of the Idaho Code is no exception. Two years ago, the Idaho Legislature created a formal process for notifying property owners when their property was to be seized for tax debts. Notice in these situations is critical for property owners to defend any rights or interests in their property, and using certified mail provides greater assurance that notice is actually received.

Although some may argue that the additional cost of using certified mail is unnecessary, it is an appropriate safeguard that we owe property owners. For these reasons, I cannot support diminishing the process established under title 63, section 3061A of the Idaho Code as proposed by House Bill 008.

So what trumps government savings? Private property rights.

Not to argue here that Otter is necessarily wrong; he makes a fair point here. But this first veto message does offer some insight into the new governor’s order of priorities.

Share on Facebook

One response so far

One Response to “What Otter forbids”

  1. Alanon 27 Feb 2007 at 7:28 am

    Property owners are more likely to get notice if the letter is not sent certified mail. A good many folks, when in financial difficulties, begin to ignore mail. Some folks will refuse to pick up certified mail, knowing that is is proof of receipt of bad news.

    Certified mail gets delivered by the same people in the same way as regular mail, pretty much. If no one is home to sign there are couple of additional efforts to deliver it, but again, same letter carrier, same method.

    The real difference is that the sender can prove that the notice was delivered. The difference applies more to the sender than the recipient.

    Gov Otter’s rationale doesn’t really mesh with the reality of mail delivery. The Industrial Commission recently considered the same idea and reached the same conclusion as the tax commission. From meeting minutes available here http://www.iic.idaho.gov/about_the_iic/advisory_committee/minutes/2006/11-14-06.pdf

    “Subcommittee Chair Max Sheils reported that this subcommittee was formed to determine the feasibility of allowing the Commission to send hearing notices via first class mail in addition to mailing notices by certified mail. Mr. Sheils stated that the Industrial Commission in virtually every case holds a telephonic conference with the Referee and the parties prior to a hearing so that all parties are aware of the impending hearing. Mr. Sheils found that the adjudication staff contacts pro se claimants prior to a hearing to ensure proper notification. Once the subcommittee agreed to change the rule, Legislative Services was contacted and the proposed changes were drafted to §72-713. Mr. Sheils reported that the proposed change would reduce mailing costs for the Industrial Commission from approximately $2,000 per year to approximately $300 per year. He also noted that the Supreme Court as well as the District Courts all send notices by first class mail. The subcommittee recommends the Advisory Committee approve the amendments to §72-713. After discussion and consideration, it was the Advisory Committee’s consensus that the subcommittee’ recommendations be adopted and the Industrial Commission proceed with the amendments of Idaho Code §72-713, allowing notices to be sent by first class mail. Senator John Andreason agreed to sponsor the bill since the deadline for submitting legislative changes by the Commission has passed. The Commission agreed to support the changes.”

Share on Facebook

 


Oregon State Highway film from 1966. A few changes since then.

 

Back in Print! Frank Church was one of the leading figures in Idaho history, and one of the most important U.S. senators of the last century. From wilderness to Vietnam to investigating the CIA, Church led on a host of difficult issues. This, the one serious biography of Church originally published in 1994, is back in print by Ridenbaugh Press.
Fighting the Odds: The Life of Senator Frank Church. LeRoy Ashby and Rod Gramer; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 800 pages. Softcover. $24.95.
See the FIGHTING THE ODDS page.


 
JOURNEY WEST

by Stephen Hartgen
The personal story of the well-known editor, publisher and state legislator's travel west from Maine to Idaho. A well-written account for anyone interested in Idaho, journalism or politics.
JOURNEY WEST: A memoir of journalism and politics, by Stephen Hartgen; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, here or at Amazon.com (softcover)

 

 

NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here