Idaho House candidates in districts 20, 21 talk growth, taxes at Meridian forum | Local News

MERIDIAN — Simply three of the 9 candidates for Idaho State Home districts 20 and 21 made an look at Tuesday’s on-line Idaho Press and Meridian Chamber of Commerce discussion board. However whereas numbers had been missing, the candidates who did seem made their pitches for why voters ought to again them.

District 20B Republican incumbent James Holtzclaw, District 21A Democratic challenger Donald Williamson and District 20A Democratic challenger Pat Soulliere appeared in a Fb Dwell discussion board the place development and taxes made up a lion’s share of the dialog.

Whereas not one of the candidates’ opponents appeared on the occasion, the three males mentioned points essential to the Meridian Chamber of Commerce.

“Meridian is exploding with development, and our response is sorely missing. We’re being reactive to development as an alternative of proactive,” Williamson mentioned. 

Soulliere mentioned he believed managing development within the statehouse was key to protecting it from going uncontrolled.

“We should be managing development on the state stage earlier than it eats us alive,” Soulliere mentioned, noting two key components for that form of sustainable development had been offering reasonably priced well being care and protecting housing prices down. Soulliere additionally took a shot at Palmer’s determination to not present up on the discussion board. 

“Palmer expects your vote. I’ll by no means count on your vote, I’ll at all times purpose to earn your vote,” Soulliere mentioned.

Holtzclaw, the one incumbent within the discussion board, mentioned he was involved concerning the doable issues a neighborhood choice tax might wreak on cities set proper subsequent to one another. Native choice taxes are voter-approved gross sales taxes set by municipalities. 

“I feel if we had a neighborhood choice right here in Meridian, there’d be an opportunity somebody would simply go a mile down the street and purchase a automotive” in a metropolis that had a decrease gross sales tax, Holtzclaw mentioned. He additionally mentioned his studying of the native choice tax statute would make the tax “accessible for any metropolis.” Nevertheless, the Idaho State Legislature solely permits native choice taxes in resort cities. All through the remainder of the state, it’s set at a uniform 6%.

Soulliere mentioned he supported the native choice tax for all of Idaho, not simply “some tiny metropolis within the mountains.”

“I feel it is fascinating elected officers will scream about native management when the federal authorities is available in, however they will step in when cities make their very own choices,” Soulliere mentioned.

Williamson, a small enterprise proprietor, mentioned Idaho must do extra to develop its personal expertise to handle and create native companies, together with providing extra commerce faculty packages.

“The legislature has to adequately fund our training system,” Williamson mentioned.

Holtzclaw mentioned he believed the combat about tips on how to finest pay for training could be occurring lengthy after he left the legislature, however he mentioned persevering with to have the dialog was a key a part of discovering a solution.

“The place we thread that needle, I do not know,” he mentioned.

The candidates additionally mentioned they needed to seek out the best choice to maintain native companies afloat because the pandemic continued to rage all through the US. 

“It has been a troublesome 12 months for companies,” Holtzclaw mentioned, including that he believed the federal Coronavirus Assist, Reduction, and Financial Safety Act, or CARES Act, might present reduction for a lot of small enterprise house owners across the state.

“We have by no means had a pandemic within the trendy period,” Soulliere mentioned. “We have to make companies complete and ensure native, small companies proceed to thrive in Idaho.”

Williamson mentioned he needed extra management from the legislature because the pandemic continued.

“We’re form of plodding alongside, taking it one step at a time,” he mentioned. “We have to have our leaders lead extra uniformly, to open as a lot as we are able to and nonetheless be protected.”

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