State Government

A Legislator Who Can Write!

(First appeared in the Idaho Post Falls Register newspaper and circulated by known conservatives on the web) This is kind of long for the Guardian, but the lady can turn a phrase. I almost feel bad about the story on the Minneapolis Stadium.


By Rep. Lenore Barrett (R-Challis)

The governor is quoted as saying he thinks this session will be regarded as one of the most progressive session in Idaho history; except “it’s hardly progress if a cannibal learns to use a knife and fork.”

Deals were cut, skids were greased and the fix was in. Bills were held hostage. Not-so-friendly persuasion was ruthlessly applied. antrums produced desired results. Legislation without merit received a hero’s welcome. Legislation with merit was burned at the stake; and the 2005 Legislature, joined at the hip to the federal government, boldly changed the culture and custom of a fiscally conservative state into a culture of debt.

In that spirit, we grew government. Most spending increase was tied to inflationary adjustments. Inflation is a hidden tax everyone pays, and it depreciates the dollar. Suddenly, it takes more to buy less. Without sufficient understanding, people are not inclined to demand monetary stability, leaving the feds free to create booms and busts by expanding or contracting the money supply. If the value of the money supply were tied to gold, as the Founders intended, ignificant [money] inflation would be impossible; we could enjoy the fruits of our labor, and the state could live within its means.

Spending cuts, almost revolutionary in these near-mindless times, never materialized. The only freedom the taxpayer has left is the freedom to pay on demand.

Devoted to the art of self-delusion, we pursued economic vitality through special interest advocates who need only contact a sympathetic lawmaker (or governor) to translate their agenda into law, i.e., contractor licensing, the Albertson, Qwest and Micron bills.

Qwest couldn’t compete without legislative approval. Never mind that independent craftsmen in rural Idaho are now priced out of the competitive market by contractor licensing requirements. If tax policy is fair and reasonable, people won’t come to the Legislature for exemptions, incentives, tax credits, job credits, property tax relief, etc. Tax policy forces free-enterprise to struggle up the economic waterfall and fixed incomes to helplessly tread water. And interim committee authorized to study property tax issues will have no success unless it simultaneously addresses spending cuts. We need a Taxpayer Bill of Rights, but the Legislature does not want to be put on autopilot where it belongs.

Water was a contentious issue at the Idaho Constitution Convention in 1880, and delegates anticipated chronic periods of drought. It’s been an ugly war ever since; but missing back then was the unforeseen consequence of a sappy bunch of Washington politicians concocting an Endangered Species Act. We’ve weathered drought before, but we cannot weather a fish fetish. Anyway, follow the money. The Bell Rapids purchase will leave water in the Snake River to dovetail with the Nez Perce Settlement, and leasing to the Bureau of Reclamation for fish protection whacks the taxpayer twice.

Frankly, we need more dams.

Flushed with questionable success, we added GARVEE bonding to the debt load. Whether you believe in the GARVEE mission or not depends on the size of your crystal ball. Doesn’t anyone in government understand the downside to debt?

We continued to over-criminalize. Infractions become misdemeanors.
Misdemeanors become felonies. Fines, penalties and jail-time continue to increase. We close imaginary loopholes by removing any room for honest mistakes. Then we come up with some loopy logic that more funding for education will shrink the prison population and save taxpayer dollars. It hasn’t worked so far.

Education is a sacred cow and is still the biggest appetite at the revenue table; then welfare. The Department of Health and Welfare is a government unto itself presiding over a community of entitlement, with a side-bar of social services for the “illegals” because they will do the work the “entitled” folks won’t.

Some politicians with a heart as big as the outdoors have a brain the size of a chickpea. You might want to CAT scan the next batch of office seekers and see it they’re anatomically correct.

Rep. Barrett’s article appeared in the Idaho Falls Post Register on April 24, 2005. You can contact Rep. Barrett at (208)879-2797.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I know this is an older story, but I’ve just discovered the Guardian, and enjoy it thus far. Rep Barrett is correct on a few points, not so correct, in my opinion on others. I do fully agree that the next batch of elected official do need a CAT scan, and quite possibly a lobotomy. But truly who needs the CAT scan, those elected into office, or the “sheep” with blinders on who elected them in the first place? We all know who holds the majority in the Idaho “flock”, and Rep Barrett is in that majority. Being entrapped in visions of the past walks hand-in-hand this upholding the status quo. Idaho is no longer the land of the cowboys, loggers, and miners do primarily structural economic changes that HAVE occurred throughout the west. It’s time for legislators to look to the future, instead of continually protecting the natural resource rights of there bedfellows. Other stakeholders in this state have rights to those resources as well, and do far less to deplete them. Taking a backwards legislative approach for the past 20 years, requires or necessitates the additional financing (GARVEE) required to update a transportation system that has taken a back seat to concerns of where someone’s “pal” will graze their “mo-moo’s”, or if farmer Bob will have enough water to plant his exorbitant amount potatoes, to further drive market prices down (over supply the market), so Bob can again dominate the welfare category (although most conservatives call them subsidies, but lets call a “spade” a “spade”). One-side politics in Idaho seems to be, in my opinion, more of the “cause” of our current “evils”, than any poor hostage crisis that occurred at the end of Capital Blvd. this spring. By the way, I’m very curious of what the inflation rate would be WITHOUT monetary policy from the Federal Reserve and their head guru Greenspan, and where exactly Rep. Barrett proposes we get enough gold to back US currency in circulation today…Your CAT Scan is ready…Bring your friends.

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