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Idaho Supreme Court says Lewiston stormwater fee is unconstitutional

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The Judicial Update

November 15, 2011

LEWISTON, Idaho: In a unanimous decision, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that a stormwater fee levied by the city of Lewiston is unconstitutional.[1] It is unconstitutional because the fees are used for general repairs and not for direct benefits, which means the fee is considered a tax under Idaho state law. New taxes must be authorized by the Idaho State Legislature. Lewiston originally levied the fee in 2008. In 2009, the Lewiston School District, Lewis-Clark State College, Nez Perce County, the Port of Lewiston, and the Lewiston Orchards Irrigation District filed suit against the city. They sought to reclassify the fee as a tax since Idaho government entities are not allowed to tax one another. Judge John H. Bradbury of Idaho's Second District had previously ruled in favor of the five plaintiffs, but the city of Lewiston appealed his ruling. The city of Lewiston said it needed to levy the fee in order to comply with mandates from the federal Clean Water Act.[2]

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