Senators gave preliminary approval to two water development bills Monday and debated for some time the wisdom of searching out and storing water.
Sen. Alarik Myrin's bill would dedicate one-eighth of the state sales tax for water development. The $12 million a year would go into the current water development fund to be loaned out at low interest rates to water districts.Sen. Fred Finlinson, R-Murray, has a different approach. He wants to bond for $50 million for water development.
Sen. Omar Bunnell, D-Price, spoke against Myrin's bill, saying even though the bonding method takes more money via interest payments, it is a more direct way to have those who profit from water development pay for it. "If we use the sales tax, everyone pays for it and may not benefit from the water."
At a later date senators will decide if the state can afford either the $12 million in sales tax or the $50 million in debt service for water.