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Politics & Government

Governor Demurs On Possible Grocery Tax Veto, Focuses On Disaster Relief

Butch Otter, Idaho Governor
Otto Kitsinger
AP Images
File photo of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter giving his State of the State address Jan. 9, 2017.

Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter told reporters Monday he plans to appeal the federal government’s decision not to give Idaho disaster aid. He made the request to help pay for the cost of this year’s severe winter storms and spring floods.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency – or FEMA – denied Otter’s request in March. He had asked for federal assistance to deal with floods and storm damage in eight counties. So far, this winter has done an estimated $30 million worth of damage to state roads and bridges. Otter says the state will appeal to FEMA to get the relief, noting concerns over how the state will pay for all the damages to infrastructure and the agriculture sector.

But the governor declined to say whether or not he will let a repeal of the grocery tax go through. Lawmakers passed a bill to remove the 6 percent tax at the end of the legislative session.

“If you give back the sales tax credit on groceries," says Otter, "and then you take the funding that we’ve created plus the loss to local units of government –we’re way below what we need at 4.5 percent growth.”

Otter says he’s worried about how the state will pay for infrastructure and stay on track with future commitments to education funding.

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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