Republican U.S. Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, the front-runner in the race to succeed retiring GOP Gov. Phil Batt, has run into opposition from with-in his own party to his plan for reducing the two-thirds vote required for approving school bond issues.
Kempthorne has vowed to lead a campaign to reduce the supermajority requirement to 60 percent for school bond proposals considered in conjunction with statewide elections, citing the deplorable conditions of some schools."I'm not in support of that," Genesee School Board Chairman Ralph Stout, owner of Stout Flying Service at the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport, said of the proposal that was rejected in an Idaho House committee during the Legislature's 1998 session.
"I feel that property taxes are an unfair tax for funding all of school buildings," Stout said. "I think a partial funding by a sales tax or an income tax would be a fairer tax."
Republican state Rep. Frank Bruneel of Lewiston said he hopes to make Kempthorne more aware of the property-tax burden in Nez Perce County so he will better understand the impact of his bond-issue proposal.
Joe Stegner of Lewiston, a Republican trying to succeed retiring Democratic state Sen. Bruce Sweeney in the Idaho Senate, said he supports Kempthorne's efforts to get money for school facilities.
"But I'm not a fan of doing that through property taxes," Stegner said, calling instead for a state move to broaden the sales tax base.