As hard as it has been to learn to sit still, sit quiet, I did that today. The single issue I've worked hardest to oppose, not just this year but for three years now, the total repeal of Personal Property Tax, just passed the 70 member House by 4 votes.
Fred Wood and I (he had paired with Eric Anderson who was gone and so was prohibited from debating,) the two of us were on the phone counting votes, talking to swing votes and urging our Republican colleagues to debate with the Democrats.
Being on the phone helped. It kept me busy. Not debating but working the floor from the phone meant I could stand up and ask Steve Thayne to call Tom Loertscher, ask Diane Thomas to make her points about counties, ask Maxine to get someone downstairs to debate against.
There was a most unusual mix of people on both sides of this bill. Pete Nielsen said that those he often follows are split so he was wavering. In the end he voted Aye. Somehow we even lost JoAn Wood who debated so eloquently against the bill in committee. We gained a no vote from Tom Trail who was a co-sponsor. People like Lyn Luker swung and stood up with concern that the bill reads that in 2014, regardless of the economic situation, the whole $120 million is due and the whole business tax comes off and shifts to the sales tax.
My quiet was on the surface, on the screen and the microphone. I know I did all I could, everything I possibly could. It is now up to the Senate. The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry won't sleep until they get every vote tied down in shiny pro-industry barbed wire. May the counties and families and schools and future budget writers tread lightly but not rest until we get a bill to fix personal property tax that does not do the harm this one does.