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Weekly Idaho Housing Alliance Update

For the Week of March 1, 2012

As issues come up we will be sending you information on issues  that will affect you.  If you have an article or information you think might be useful to IHA members please send them to the IHA office at and we will forward in our weekly updates.

The information contained in this message is for your information and some items may not be of interest to you.  Please give us your input on how we can improve.  This is a membership service for IHA members. 


Legislative Update – March 1

Report from IHA Lobbyist – Jack Lyman:
H.468 -  The DBS bill on installation inspections passed the House last week 64-1-5. Only Dick Harwood voted against it. I assume it was because it appeared to be a federal mandate. It then moved to the Senate and was approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee and sent to the floor with a "do pass" recommendation. This week it passed the Senate on a 33-0 vote. Senator Smyser did a great job in the debate. I expect the Governor to sign the bill and it will take effect July 1.

In a somewhat related matter, H. 447, which required installation inspections of modular buildings, was defeated soundly (24 - 42 - 4) on the House floor today. I didn't get to hear the debate but was told Rep. Phil Hart argued that jurisdictions that had chosen to not have building codes would now need to have the state inspect the installation of these structures.

Ending Date?
The target ending date is projected to be March 23 but could extend until March 30th. The number of legislators not returning continues to grow including Dennis Lake, Wendy Jacquet, Nicole LaFavour, Edgar Malepeai and Diane Bilyue. This will make for an interesting election year.

Online sales tax:
The House Revenue and Tax Committee failed after three defeated motions to get the 79 page bill to the House floor on a 9 to 9 vote. Legislators have been making this effort since 2007 with no success. There  is a suggestion of an interim committee to study the issue. This bill would have affirmed uniform sales tax laws and started collecting sales tax on a voluntary basis in 2013.

Reducing the Individual and Corporate Tax rates:
House Bill 563 passed with 20 "no" votes. The bill proposed to reduce the top marginal individual income tax rate from 7.85 to 7.4% and to reduce the corporate tax rate from 7.6% to 7.4%. The cost to the general fund would be $35.7 million dollars. Some experts are concerned about "structural deficit "in Idaho’s budgeting. We have been using one time money to get through this down economy. Some legislators are asking “As we pull out of this, is it prudent to offer a tax cut?” Will businesses looking to locate here going to be looking more at our tax rates or more at our education infrastructure, our workforce, our transportation system to move their goods and our quality of life?

Energy efficiency update:
The extension of the energy efficiency tax deduction for homes built before 2002 passed the House unanimously this week as did the tax credit for Sun Valley's Adaptive Sports work for returning veterans.

What's Ahead?

Negotiated rulemaking:
This legislation makes the Negotiated Rulemaking process more transparent and requires State Agencies to provide a written record of the key issues, unresolved issues, and consensus built throughout the Rulemaking.

Agency Guidance:
A new pieces of Legislation has been drafted to ensure when State Agencies adopt Guidance, that those statements within that Guidance do not meet the definition of a Rule and if they do, they must have Legislative oversight.

Both of these pieces of Legislation assist Industry. Legislation pieces also apply to all Industry as amending the Administrative Procedures Act applies to all State Agencies.

Floor debates on 2013 budgets start today. The legislature has started passing supplemental budgets, mostly bills which allow spending authority for federal grants, and 2013 budgets for dedicated fund agencies such as the Department of Finance, the Public Utilities Commission. Last Friday the budget committee, JFAC, approved a 2% salary increase for all state employees and teachers.

The different departments have finished their presentations to the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC). Almost every director or administrator pointed out the significant problems they are having keeping employees or having time to perform their duties. JFAC adopted a revenue estimate for 2013 that is $33M less than the Governor’s estimate. This will put additional stress on the JFAC members to fit their department budgets into the lower number. 

Some major issues that JFAC needs to consider when setting the budget:

  • Medicaid cuts 
  • Roads and bridges need repair
  • There are over a half Billion dollars in deferred maintenance on State facilities
  • Public Safety with cuts in Corrections and ISP

Health Care Exchange:
Three bills have been introduced and one is still being worked on. The exchange must be self-supporting in that no state or federal money will be needed except for start-up costs. Either the insurance company or the individual’s premium will pay for the exchange.

There are several bills that are being considered but the chairman of the Health and Welfare Committee, Rep Janice McGeachin, will only allow one bill to be heard. It is not clear which one she likes best, but she has made it clear she is against using federal funds for the start up. If Idaho uses state funds instead of federal funds there will be about $20 million less that will go to state agencies.

Other Notes of Interest:

Presidential Caucus:
On Tuesday March 6th, every county in the state will hold a county-level caucus as part of the Idaho Republican Presidential Nomination Caucus.  The voting will be conducted by secret ballot and takes place in successive rounds. In each round, the recipient of the least amount of votes is eliminated.  Voting ends in either of two circumstances: 1) one candidate receives a simple majority of at least 50% of the vote; or 2) only two final candidates remain on the ballot and the final vote is taken.
All registered Republican are eligible to vote in the County Caucuses. All voters must re-register to vote and declare party affiliation under the new nominating caucus system. Voters may also re-register to vote and declare a party affiliation as they enter the Caucus site.

Federal deficit:
Senator Crapo addressed the House and Senate today. He expressed his concerns about the US deficit and congratulated Idaho on its balanced budget - which is actually required in most state constitutions. He believes that a reduction in state spending is 75% of the the solution and that there is now bi partisan support for this direction in both the House and the Senate. What he believes we need is a plan for implementation. As you might imagine, getting down to the details is a lot harder. He believes that raising taxes will be part of the solution as well as reforming the tax code to make the code more fair and that there is more shared responsibility.

Important Links and Deadlines for the 2012 National Congress & Expo for Manufactured and Modular Housing
This is the ONLY National Trade Show for the Factory-Built Housing Industry and Largest Gathering of Industry Leaders
To Register: Click here to register for the 2012 Congress & Expo. The early bird registration deadline is March 9, 2012. Register early and save $100! As an added incentive, an additional $100 registration discount is available to attendees staying at Caesars Palace during the 2012 Congress & Expo. To qualify for this discount, a Caesars Palace confirmation number must be provided when registering.
Make Hotel Reservations: The special room rate of $190 is available at Caesars Palace for conference guests through March 9, 2012, so book today to guarantee savings! Click here to reserve online or call 866-227-5944 and ask for the 2012 MHI Congress and Expo room block or group code SCMHI2


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