Otter grocery tax veto challenged in court

By Cameron Rasmusson
Reader Staff

The legislative and executive branches of the Idaho government will face off in court June 15 in a challenge to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s veto of the grocery sales tax repeal.

The lawsuit, led by Rep. Ron Nate, R-Rexburg, argues that Otter missed a deadline to veto the bill by failing to do so within 10 days of the Legislature adjourning. Otter, meanwhile, is leaning on an Idaho Supreme Court precedent set by the 1978 Cenarrusa v. Andrus case, which ruled that the deadline starts once the bill lands on the governor’s desk.

The outcome of the court challenge has unexpected implications for the city of Sandpoint, which relies on the grocery tax for about a third of its local option tax revenue. The local option tax is funding the renovation of Memorial Field, among other park projects.

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