The following article was originally published in The Coeur d’Alene Press on March 15, 2014, by Dave Goins, Press Correspondent. It has been republished here with express permission from The Coeur d’Alene Press.
BOISE – Legislation which would provide nearly $1 million into North Idaho College’s budget was introduced Thursday by three North Idaho lawmakers. Its chances for approval, however, remain unclear.
Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, introduced a proposal in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee that would channel dollars now being used by urban renewal districts to Idaho’s three community colleges.
Nonini said the fate of the legislation he co-sponsored with Reps. Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene, and Kathleen Sims, R-Coeur d’Alene, hinges on whether or not it would receive a Senate committee hearing if it clears the Idaho House. Senate Local Government and Taxation Committee Chairman Jeff Siddoway, R-Terreton, remains undecided that issue.
House tax committee chairman Gary Collins, R-Nampa, pegged it at a “60 to 70 percent chance” that the legislation wouldn’t receive a full committee hearing. Leaders at the Idaho Legislature have set a March 21 goal for wrapping up the business of the 2014 legislative session.
“If he (Siddoway) would agree to hear it, I probably would have a hearing,” Collins said. “But, that’s kind of in flux right now. So, I would say it’s probably a 60 or 70 percent (chance) that we won’t have a hearing.”
Nonini said NIC’s annual budget is “about $41 million,” but in 2012 local urban renewal districts received $958,341 that should have gone to the community college’s budget. Financial sources to fund NIC include state funds, tuition and fees, and local property taxes.
“That budget of $41 billion [sic] to North Idaho College is going to be reached one way or another,” Nonini told the House tax committee. “But my concerns is what’s fair to all the other taxpayers who support that.”