Here is another opinion piece being presented at the Repub Convention at Twin Falls this week. Disclaimer: The GUARDIAN will gladly post rebuttals, comments, or other topical items from any other party or individual.
By Bob Forrey
The Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, Sec. Of State Ben Ysursa, Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Luna, Attorney Gen. Lawrence Wasden, and State Controller Donna Jones, purchased a 414 unit self-storage business under the assumed name of “Affordable Self-Storage.” Business permit number D141807. This state-owned business is in competition with every other privately owned and property tax paying storage unit in Idaho, however, the State does not pay property taxes.
But this is just a beginning. This same Land Board has agreed to spend $320,000 of school endowment money to remodel an old building in downtown Boise to accommodate the “10 Barrel Brewing Idaho L.L.C.” to operate a brew pub and restaurant. A lease was signed on 11-2-11 without being offered at auction as is required by the Idaho Constitution. The Land Board now owns some 17 other buildings and parking lots in the Boise area that are now removed from the property tax base and are in competition with free enterprise businesses.
On December 20, 2011, the Land Board approved the “State Trust Lands Asset Management Plan”, with the goal of adding more properties to the commercial portfolio. The plan also calls for “Changing social and political attitudes and values, markets, and products”.
In addition, they plan on “operating a profit-oriented business within a government agency,” and “to become more competitive in the real estate market.”
In view of the fact that the current Idaho Republican Party Platform states the following: “Idaho Republicans will continue to lead the fight to reduce the growth of government bureaucracy and promote private enterprise and individual initiative in the marketplace as the solution to our domestic policy challenges,” it will be up to the grassroots Republicans to demand that the members of the Idaho Land Board, all declared to be Republicans, stop their actions of growing government in competition with private industry.
The Board must heed the warning issued by the Idaho Supreme Court in Village of Moyie Springs V. Aurora Mfg. Co. (1960):
“… it is not the function of the government to engage in private business,… If state-favored industries were successfully managed, private enterprise would of necessity be forced out, and the state, through its municipalities, would increasingly become involved in promoting, sponsoring, regulating, and controlling private businesses, and our free enterprise economy would be replaced with socialism.”
Robert M. Forrey Ltc. (Ret.)
Former State Legislator and School Board Member
State Dept. of Education Ombudsman
4900 S. Ridgewood Rd.
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