Bill description: Provides $300 million in debt financing for roads

Rating: -1

Analyst’s note: Senate Bill 1162 would authorize the Idaho Transportation Department to borrow $300 million for new highway projects in anticipation of federal highway funds repaying the debt. It is worth noting, had the Legislature contained spending for fiscal year 2018, it could have funded most of these projects without borrowing. The bill does not suggest using general funds, as did previous iterations, which would likely have required a public vote. This bill, however,  would continue the dubious practice of handing authority for the debt to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association. Because IHFA is a corporate and politic independent body, the state constitution does not require a public vote on the debt. Such an arrangement, one could argue, prevents the public from having a say in the matter.

Does it increase government spending (for objectionable purposes) or debt?

Senate Bill 1162 depends wholly on the bonds and their debt service, which is a responsibility borne by taxpayers. (-1)

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