The Idaho legislature’s House Revenue and Taxation Committee heard testimony Friday on a proposed urban renewal law that would require members of agencies like Boise’s CCDC to be elected.
The bill was held in committee and effectively killed by a 10-8 vote, but the REAL story is WHO testified and WHY. Two non-elected people paid with citizen tax dollars urged legislators to prevent citizens from having the power to elect those who directly spend property tax money to subsidize developers downtown.
Lyn Darrington is a lobbyist paid by the city of Boise–but from whom does she get her orders? Phil Kushlan is director of the CCDC, Boise’s city appointed urban renewal agency–did he clear his testimony with the council?
The GUARDIAN sought to find out who authorized these hired guns to speak as representatives of Boise City. Councilor Vern Bisterfeldt categorically denied knowledge of any council meeting or discussion about the bill and didn’t even know it existed. Councilor Jim Tibbs also said he was unaware of any legislative proposal regarding urban renewal let alone any city position.
The GUARDIAN is very concerned that hired guns are purporting to speak on behalf of Boise City when the city council has not discussed the matter (any topic), arrived at a consensus on a position, or given direction on how they want to proceed–at a public meeting or otherwise.
The particulars on the proposed legislation are not important. We support public election of anyone allowed to directly collect taxes and spend them. Boise officials are consistent in denying citizens a vote on who spends their tax money and how it is spent. CCDC is an agency without significant oversight and direction from elected officials–like the city council.
It looks to us that at best it is a lack of communication, but we fear certain staff–or even council members have quietly taken it upon themselves to speak in the name of the “city of trees” when they may be a mere voice in the wilderness.
For the record, the Chamber of Commerce also testified against allowing citizens to vote for those who spend their tax dollars.
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