In response to Sen. Michelle Stennett’s Jan. 22 guest opinion (“Legislature is liable for rising property taxes”) I would like to offer a rebuttal.
First, clearly, additional funding is needed in some areas such as education and transportation. Our roads do need repair and our schools do need to improve. Additional funding will help, but in the case of our schools do we also need to make administrative changes that will allow us the best bang for the buck? Question: Why are road improvements so expensive? Shouldn’t our representatives discuss ways of reducing the cost per mile before additional funding?
Gov. Little has prudently requested that state agencies reduce their budget by a small amount to increase our reserves above pre-recession levels. As the state’s budget grows, so must the reserves. What state agency does not have 3 percent of waste and fraud?
Medicaid expansion was championed by Reclaim Idaho and our three reps. Unfortunately, they did not provide a clear pathway to funding as other states wisely included. The dubious math that was supposed to cover the expense is on thin ice and the committee of bipartisan officials, having listened to expert testimony, are scrambling to cover the debt. Additional funding must come from somewhere as the tobacco settlement will not cover the cost. Why did they not include an honest, simple tax hike as other states did? Because it would not have passed? This may have serious consequences in the future.
Shifting tax burden by favoring commercial growth has increased Idaho’s economy. As better-paying jobs increase, we all prosper. Reclaim Idaho wants to abruptly reverse that trend by playing Robin Hood and placing the majority of the tax burden on large businesses and corporations. This will have unintended consequences and requires the state’s full attention and should not be a ballot initiative.
Time to quit bashing and start producing.
Jeff Kreyssig, Camas County