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Posts published in “Day: May 4, 2014”

A legislative giant

peterson MARTIN
PETERSON
 

I spent 36 legislative sessions wearing a variety of hats. During that time I got to know scores and scores of legislators. But when I look back at them, there is one who stands above the rest. He was Steve Antone, a farmer from Rupert who served in the Idaho House from 1969 until 1996.

He had a number of skills that would prove beneficial in his legislative work. He was intelligent, generally soft spoken, had a good sense of humor and the ability to get along with just about everyone.

For twelve years he chaired the important House Revenue and Taxation Committee. Most tax legislation in Idaho originates in that committee and, as a result, the chairmanship can be a powerful position. The twelve years Steve Antone chaired the committee were perhaps the most challenging from a budgeting and taxation standpoint that Idaho has ever seen.

In 1978, Idaho voters approved the 1% Initiative. Although well intended by its proponents, the initiative was incredibly flawed from a constitutional standpoint and unworkable from an administrative standpoint. Under Antone’s chairmanship, supporters and opponents of the measure, legislators and lobbyists alike, were able to come up with major revisions that provided limitations on the levying of property taxes by local governments, while still meeting various requirements of the state’s constitution and statutes.

I was executive director of the Association of Idaho Cities at this time and approached Antone about the possibility of his committee conducting a field hearing at the Association’s annual convention to receive input for city officials. No legislative committee had ever conducted a hearing outside of Boise. Antone gave it some thought, liked the idea, and took the committee to Coeur d’Alene that summer.

In the early 80s, Idaho’s natural resource based economy collapsed. Low prices for farm commodities, timber and minerals all combined to knock the bottom out of the state’s tax revenues. It was the worst fiscal situation the state had seen since the great depression. The solutions to the state budget problems had to be met with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.

It fell to Antone and his committee to approve the series of tax increases. (more…)

On the front pages

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Crowded judicial race to replace Wetherell (Boise Statesman)
Meridian's Scentsy shifting its product line (Boise Statesman, IF Post Register)
Lawsuits over environment - who benefits? (IF Post Register)
Groups consider urban renewal in N Lewiston (Lewiston Tribune)
Trade trip to Russia on hold (Nampa Press Tribune)
Revewing Bannock Fair Board suspension (Pocatello Journal)
State sues Coeur d'Alenes over poker (Sandpoint Bee)
Looking at the AG Republican primary (TF Times News)
St. Luke's an example of med industry change (TF Times News)

Lane County elections reviewed (Eugene Register Guard)
New growth in burned forest (KF Herald & News)
Federal inspector general looks at Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian)

After engineer jobs move, Boeing pressed on breaks (Everett Herald)
Teachers union vote drawns unusual attention (Seattle Times)
Changes proposed for Spokane Riverside Park (Spokane Spokesman)
Debate over Hepatitis C drug cost (Tacoma News Tribune)
Dark boat launch leads to auto drowns (Tacoma News Tribune)
Farlnad declining in Clark County (Vancouver Columbian)
Uncertain placing for local homeless (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima meal delivery gets budget cut (Yakima Herald Republic)