February 2, 2017
Writer: Mackenzie Holbrook
As the Idaho Legislature session moves into February, BYU-Idaho Radio spoke with Minority Leader Rep. Mat Erpelding, and Rep. Ron Nate from District 34 in Madison County, on what they're working on in Boise.
Currently, the republicans in the House State Affairs Committee are trying to pass a bill discouraging sanctuary cities. Out of the 15 members on the committee, one member, Paulette Jordan, a democrat from District 5, voted "no" on the bill.
Mat Erpelding said he and other democrats in the state are not comfortable with the bill.
"It's a solution in search of a problem," Erpelding said. "It creates an environment of fear between local police and potential victims and witnesses of crime who might be afraid to come forward and talk to them."
Greg Chaney, a republican from District 10, and the representative who proposed the bill, said, while Idaho is a wonderful place for refugees, he doesn't want it becoming a target.
Another topic of discussion during the legislature right now is tax reduction for Idaho residents.
Nate said he thinks the state is over-taxing citizens.
"It's great that we're lowering personal income and corporate income taxes," Nate said. "But it's very small compared to what we ought to be doing."
Nate says the state's revenue has been going up quickly and for the last three year it's been above projections.
"With these three years in a row of higher-than-expected revenues, it ought to be time to provide some tax relief to tax payers," Nate said. "I think we're over-taxing them if we continually bring in more revenues than we expect."
Erpelding says he doesn't agree the state needs to lower taxes. His plan is to pay off the state's loans before legislators lower any taxes.
"It's going to essentially eliminate any revenue for the surplus eliminator, which is designed to improve our roads and our infrastructure," Erpelding said.
Both encouraged constituents to contact their respective representatives with questions or concerns.
Click below to listen to our full interviews with Mat Erpelding and Ron Nate.