The following was posted as a “comment” on our April Fools edition, but deserves more prominence as a point of discussion.
By STEVE BERCH (D)
State Rep. Dist. 15
When one party controls 80% of all legislative seats, they have 100% control over determining what bills ultimately get introduced and voted on. The minority party proposed several bills that provided direct and immediate property tax relief, including repealing the cap on the homeowners exemption, increasing funds for circuit breaker property tax breaks for those on fixed incomes, releasing internet sales tax money sitting idle in a separate account that would/should be flowing into the general fund (like brick and mortar store sales taxes and thus to the counties). The majority party never let those bills be introduced, debated or voted upon. They sat in the desk draw of the committee chairmen.
And then there’s the $2.48 BILLION dollars in revenue last year alone (over $28 BILLION since 2005) that was not collected due to sales tax exemptions that rarely get reviewed and never sunset.
And, if Ada County got to keep all the revenue it generates from its own growth instead of a large chunk of it flowing to many rural counties via the general fund, Ada County would have more than enough money to meet its needs.
And then there’s the State purchasing the Hewlett Packard campus with took about $2 million a year out of revenue for Boise. And there’s Ada County having to subsidize prisoners from other counties (the county gets a per diem less than what it costs the county).
I could go on. I’m not going to blame all members of “the other party”, even though they hold all the cards and make all the decisions and implemented all the fiscal policies controlling the state for the last 20 years or so. But responsibility and accountability does sit with the LEADERS of the majority party who enable and allow the current situation to have occurred.
In our system of government, if you want change, you have to vote for change. Don’t vote for or against the letter next to the name, vote for the person. Good ideas and good people come from all directions. But it is also appropriate to hold people in power accountable.
So come November, call the candidates on your ballot directly. See if they take or return your call. If they ignore you, that’s a data point to consider. Ask them what you want to know about them and insist on an answer. That’s another data point. See if they talk with you or talk at you. See if they’re more interested in wanting to know what you think instead of telling you what they think. Don’t insist on complete agreement. Insist on respect and the candidate’s understanding that the job he/she wants is ultimately that of a public servant.
Determine if the candidate is a critical thinker or an ideologue and decide accordingly.
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