Folks, we gotta do something about the way our politicians are after every dollar we have.
The blame can be spread around equally in Idaho between the city, county, and state electeds. We will attempt to offer some insight with the example of the Ada Commisshes plan to use $3 million in “foregone taxes” in order to add a courtroom and buy land for a jail expansion.
Foregone taxes is sorta like raising the limit on your credit card. “We had a $1,000 limit, but only used $500, so now we can spend $1,500!” In the case of foregone taxes, previous county commishes didn’t spend all they were authorized to spend so the current board under Idaho law can charge us for the taxes the previous board refused to levy. The hearing is 6 p.m. Tuesday (tonight) at the court house.
In Idaho the STATE judicial council appoints judges (who also run mostly unopposed after they are on the bench). These STATE judges serve in a Judicial District where the local COUNTIES provide courtrooms and staff to run the court. Because Ada County is growing so fast, we need an additional courtroom…with staff, video and audio accouterments (“furnishings” for you non-library types) and security. Even though the courts are STATE courts, the COUNTY has to pay. This is known as an “unfunded mandate.” Ada Commishes plan to use “foregone taxes to fund the mandate. Thank the Idaho Legislature for that.
In the case of the claimed need for a jail expansion, one of the big reasons we need more beds in the jail is because we have more than 200 inmates that belong in the State Pen in the custody of the Idaho Dept. of Corrections (IDOC). They cost about $90 a day to keep, but the STATE pays the COUNTY only $55. The rate jumps to $75 a day if they remain in the Ada jail more than seven days. Ada residents subsidize the IDOC between $15 and $30 per day. Thank the legislature for that.
Why so many STATE prisoners in the COUNTY jail? Seems that most of them are parole and probation violators. State law says parole and probation violators who are arrested go to the county jail or back to the state pen. No room at the pen, so its off to Ada county. Thank the legislature for that.
IDOC claims they need half a billion dollars for more prison beds. They have cut a deal with Texas that sounds like something from Amazon Prime. Texas charges only $69.95 a day. That’s $5.05 less than they pay local COUNTY jails in Idaho. IDOC wouldn’t need so many new beds if we didn’t have so many first time drug offenders and the additional felons that come with population increases. Thank the legislature for that.
The sad part of this money grab is the politicos can “truthfully” claim they haven’t increased the tax RATE because the value of real estate has jumped so much. Example: 5% of $100 (property value) is $5. But 5% of $200 value is $10…the RATE remained the same, but the revenue doubled!
UPDATE 7/18/18– At the meeting, Commishes kicked the can down the road with a three way split. Jim Tibbs favored using the foregone authority, Rick Visser opposed, and Dave Case was undecided. Republican candidate Sharon Ullman, who beat Case in the primary election appeared and suggested the funds be taken from within budget. That touched off a verbal exchange with Tibbs who said that would not work.
For a legacy media version see IDAHO PRESS.
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