Proposed legislation in Idaho that would force the state's land board to sell the self-storage facility it purchased with controversy failed Wednesday in the Senate Resources Committee. The bill's failure is a setback to the collective lobbying effort of the Idaho Self Storage Association (IDSSA), the national Self Storage Association (SSA) and many outspoken self-storage professionals who oppose a state government's foray into the industry.
The bill, proposed initially in February in the Idaho House of Representatives by Rep. John Vander Woude, would have required the state to divest itself of all businesses funded by the state's endowment trust, including Affordable Self Storage in suburban Boise, and sell them to private-sector buyers. The bill cleared the House by a 66-3 vote before stalling in the Senate.
Since its purchase in August 2010, Affordable Self Storage has become one of the endowment's most lucrative assets, returning annual profits of about 8 percent.
The Senate panel received pleas from school boards, the Parent Teacher Association and Idaho Education Association to reject the bill on grounds it would tie the Land Board's hands in investing in properties that produce highest returns for Idaho's public schools, which are the key beneficiaries of profits from state-run businesses. The process is outlined in Idaho's state constitution.
Department of Lands director Tom Schultz, whose agency helps manage Affordable Self Storage and other state-run businesses, urged the Senate committee to stall the bill. Schultz told the source none of the state-run businesses have state employees working there. Each business is staffed by a professional services management company.