Republican Idaho lawmaker bloc often votes ‘no’ on appropriations
BOISE – Every year a bloc of lawmakers in the Idaho Legislature votes against billions of dollars in spending for routine functions of state government, and this year was no exception.
When the 2016 session ended March 25, one lawmaker had voted against nearly 60 percent of spending bills, while another opposed 85 percent of all spending for the fiscal year that starts in July.
Four of the top five naysayers, and half of the top 10, hail from North Idaho. All are Republicans serving in the House. Sitting just outside the top 10 are the second- and third-ranked members of the House Republican leadership. The top no-voting senator also is a Republican from North Idaho.
The naysayers almost never get their way, but their opposition occasionally imperils budgets for seemingly noncontroversial programs or measures. Especially within the House, where lawmakers vote no most often, their reflexive opposition splinters coalitions, gives rise to friction and breeds resentment among colleagues who support appropriations in the interest of good government, even when they might take issue with the amounts or policies involved.