Keith Allred is trying to convince Idaho voters that he is the candidate in the Idaho governor’s race least likely to raise taxes by criticizing Gov. Butch Otter’s failed effort last year to increase the state gas tax and vehicle registration fees to pay for transportation improvements.
"Idahoans deserve a governor who not only says he's a fiscal conservative, but backs up those words with actions," Allred said in an e-mail to reporters. "At a time when Idahoans are watching every dollar, we're looking for a governor who will do the same."
Lawmakers last year rejected Otter’s proposal for raising revenue for road construction and renovation, which contributed to a lengthy legislative session. While no increases were approved, the governor did create a task force to study transportation funding in Idaho. That task force will issue its recommendations in December, after the general election.
Otter told IdahoReporter.com he doesn’t know whether the task force will recommend tax or fee increases, and that any recommendations would still require legislative approval.
Some of Otter’s opponents in last month’s Republican primary, including Rex Rammell and Ada County Commissioner Sharon Ullman, criticized the governor for his transportation funding plan. Ullman said during the campaign that voters won’t know whether Otter will favor raising taxes, like he did in 2009, or reject tax increases, like he did during this year’s legislative session. After her primary loss, Ulllman said she now endorses Otter in the governor’s race.
Allred also touted his work as the leader of the advocacy group The Common Interest, which found a $10 million error in the transportation legislation. "I helped lead the opposition to Otter's gas tax and registration fee increases, and I found Otter's $10 million error," Allred said. The Common Interest also supported a plan last year that would triple the Idaho’s tax on wine and beer to pay for substance abuse treatment program.