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Hart on and in taxes

The story this last week about state Representative Phil Hart, R-Athol, being slapped with $300,000 in tax liens (from 1997-2003 and two more recent years) almost slipped by – people get into financial arrears, on a basic level there’s nothing shocking there – except for a few points that should be noted before this slips away.

One is that Hart is quite influential among very conservative Republicans; in the Panhandle, he’s among the must-get endorsements if you’re running with Tea Party and other very ideological conservatives. He has become influential enough that he was a key lever behind the ouster of incumbent Republican Senator Mike Jorgenson, from his district, by Steve Vick; the extent of Hart’s involvement has been a matter of some dispute, but he apparently recruited Vick to run. In a contested open-seat race in the other House seat in the district, Vito Barbieri, a Hart ally, won the race. He has a power base in Kootenai County; he’s one of the real influentials in that area.

This should be noted too: Hart is a member of the House Revenue & Taxation Committee, the key locus for tax policy in Idaho.

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