Reader’s Open Letter To Legislators

The following is a self-proclaimed rant by Dave Kangas about the state of the Idaho legislature and legislators.

By Dave Kangas

There have been few times in my life, when I have been as outraged by actions or proposals of or by government officials as I am now.

The current bills limiting local taxing authority and cutting income taxes, circulating through the legislature are an affront to democratic processes of our government, our local communities and to Idaho taxpayers and voters.

To me, the way legislative leadership has blocked alternative bills and ideas from even being heard in committee in favor of their bills is an insult to all of Idaho. It looks, feels, smells and resembles the strong-arm politics and tactics used by the infamous “Boss Tweed” of Tammany Hall in the late 1800’s.

To be clear, I say this entirely from my research on the Idaho Secretary of State campaign site and the contributions (payments) made to legislative leaders beginning in September, coupled with THE ONLY TAX REDUCTION LEGISLATION TO MOVE FORWARD. The source of those contributions (payments) almost entirely from the business community in Idaho and elsewhere. From that research it is also apparent how those funds flowed from some leaders (Mike Moyle) to the legislature at large to aid individual campaigns, I assume, to “buy” loyalty.

What is alarming is the complete lack of individual donations vs corporate payments to Republican leaders as compared to the complete opposite with the Democratic leaders like Michelle Stennett and Ilana Rubel.

It is also clear to understand how and why bills like SB1108, the 3% tax freeze for Idaho cities and counties, and Steve Harris’ tax cut bill(bill # unknown). Both of these bills are entirely designed to help businesses, high wage earners and the real estate industry. There is little in these bills that actually help Idaho’s infrastructure, that help the down and out, low income people in our state or seniors struggling to pay property taxes. They are certainly both home runs for even more Idaho business campaign contributions.

My questions to each legislator:

As you lose the ability to introduce, debate, discuss new ideas and legislation, as you reduce the power of the Governor’s office, as you reduce the effectiveness of the Attorney General’s office and finally as you remove the ability of the public to object and initiate legisltation through the initiative process, just why do we need a legislature at all?

Afterall how many hours and days of committee work are regularly thrown to the side in favor of something from an influential legislator? How is it that a few pre-session meetings can set the entire tone and legislation for the whole session? How is it that we can ignore the obvious in your face influence of campaign contributions from the business community?? Just who were the actual authors of these bills? What organization created, designed, pushed these bills forward?

Why does Idaho need a legislature at all? It seems there are only a few that are capable, knowledgeable, or influential enough to know what Idaho needs. It seems voters are only important at election time. At policy making time, money seems more important.

Kangas is vice chair of Boise Working Together, President of the Vista Neighborhood Association, and a realtor.

Read more for sample campaign payments to legislative leaders. Also check the FINANCE PORTAL at the Secretary of State for details.

Mike Moyle payments to fellow politicos

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. Boise Lawyer
    Feb 26, 2021, 1:41 pm

    When I disagree with Dave Kangas, I tend to really disagree. But when I agree with him, as I do here, I REALLY agree! Thanks for this, Dave.

    For what it’s worth, much of the disfunction can be traced to the closed republican primary. I wish it were unconstitutional.

  2. Won’t SB1108 put a damper on suburban sprawl in the valley? Meridian has postponed annexations and the Kuna mayor has said how they would have to make more careful judgments in the future on which developments are approved if SB1108 passes. The mayors of Nampa and Meridian are also opposed. The Idaho Farm Bureau supports this bill, which I assume is due to the preservation of farm land if it were to pass. The pro-growth local politicos are opposed to it, which says to me that this bill is a win for anti-growth/anti-tax Guardian readers.

    Please explain to me how the statements above are incorrect.

    EDITOR NOTE–You are sorta correct. The problem is the state, city, and county along with most business interests are PRO growth. They give tax breaks and various incentives to attract business to Idaho along with all the people who fill our streets, schools, sewers and waterways. On one hand we seek growth and on the other we cripple the ability to provide services for the needs caused by the growth.

  3. western guy
    Feb 26, 2021, 6:06 pm

    When cities annex land, it’s usually so that land can be rezoned from agricultural to residential or commercial or a combo.

    Fewer crops, more houses.

  4. It is enough to make a reasonable person LEAVE the (Idaho) Republican party.

    Pretty easy to identify the problem in Idaho Republican politics-
    bibles and guns.

    EDITOR NOTE–Based on the Secy State site it looks like the Dems were paid nearly twice as much as the Repubs and they still don’t have much clout.

  5. Dave Kangas
    Feb 27, 2021, 7:05 am

    FunkHObo69 The only opportunity cities really have to turn down development is at the rezone application. It is here that a development agreement and annexation are agreed to with certain conditions. The way this state operates the first time any city starts to slow down growth there be lawsuits against the city. The state will than act to further remove any such barriers. This bill does make growth more expensive for the cities alot more. The original bill from last year limited tax growth to 4% and allowed new construction assessments to increase faster than that. This is a bill designed to counter the cries for new construction impact fees for education. Mr Moyle is flexing his muscles a lot this year.

    EDITOR NOTE-Also, cities can annex without a vote of citizens–either inside or outside the city. Most places in the USA require citizen approval of annexation.

  6. chicago sam
    Feb 27, 2021, 9:42 am

    In Canyon County a recent study by Canyon county controller Zack Wagoner from 2017 thru 2020 on taxes paid by Canyon County’s 6 largest commercial enterprises have DECREASED 14% or $1,831,379.
    ** Simplot, Idaho Power Lactalis American Group, Inc., Amalgamated Sugar Company LLC, Walmart Inc. Union Pacific Corporation.***

    By comparison for the average Canyon County owner-occupied residence during the same time frame, property taxes have INCREASED 25% or $452.28 each.

    I think a similar situation exists in Ada County with Micron the lead performer.

    Those corporate contributions to Moyle and Bedke who buy their fellow legislators are certainly paying off

  7. I would think that all the elected servants except Winder, Bedke, and Moyle, should be feeling embarrassment. It would be nice to see the detail for the Citi cards. I did not see Labrador on the list!

  8. As long as 51% of those who vote agree with them, they don’t give a damn what you think.

  9. Interesting thought, Easterner. The absence of a moral, philosophical foundation and disregard for constitutional tenets make the opposition party superior?

  10. Caeth, the moral tenets which you refer to have been on display for the last 4 years, and in Idaho- that is true as anywhere. NOT good.
    Does anyone need to list the offenses of Idaho Republicans?
    Constitutional?- again, ditto. The greatest threat to our Constitution are by those proclaiming to be a fan of it. Enter January 6th. It simply doesn’t get any obvious that that day.

    So when you post, “absence” I expect you are referring the right-side, eh? Since you use such vague statements it’s difficult to see exactly.
    Granted, most politicians are bad examples of such ‘tenets’, let’s consider the consensus of their constituents.
    Do you want to help normal PEOPLE or do you want to help corporate shareholders? THAT topic is very well highlighted by Mr Kangas’ op above.
    Do you want to be on the team supported by the Idaho Petroleum Marketing, or on the team interested in clean water in Idaho?

    And in the Editor’s note on my post above where the Editor notes, ‘not much clout’ in the capital city run by Dem council???

    Why are the Idaho Right so concerned about it, to make laws contradicting any left agenda, and opposed to citizen initiatives? They are actively trying to shut down a group with ‘not much clout’.

  11. Easterner, now you expand and manufacture more excuses. I only addressed the causes for the current state of politics mentioned in your previous post.

  12. Go away easterner
    Mar 1, 2021, 11:43 am

    Easterner, You don’t know when to quit, do you? For that matter, you don’t know how to start.
    Who could take anyone serious with the amount of hatred and bias you spew? Maybe your ex-coworkers. You really should read about our constitutions (US & Idaho), as your depth of ignorance is evident.
    You state that the greatest threat to “our” Constitution was January 6th. That was another demonstration – yet you elevate it and distinguish it from AntiFa and BLM riots where governments cave into the violence and destruction.
    Is it not a threat when a Capitol police officer uses excessive force and murders an unarmed Ashli Babbitt? Justice requires the same treatment that other cops get when they murder Blacks.
    Thank goodness oh Easterner that you are not a politician as it is evident your views would often be superior to the consensus of the citizens.
    You posts remove any doubt as to your pride & prejudice.

  13. Name any job where you:
    Openly accept bribes (donations)
    Work part time hours
    Miss committee meetings and sometimes a vote
    Receive full-time pay and benefits
    Ignore your boss(es), the voters, for the bribers.
    Engage in open hostility to your co-worker, other party members
    etc. , etc., etc.

    And still be employed in that job.

  14. Boise model
    Mar 2, 2021, 10:13 am

    For comparison to Canyon County increases I pulled the property taxes on 2 parcels in Boise

    The taxes for an elderly relative for 2018 were $1,492. Her 2020 taxes were $1,963, up $461. A 31% increase in taxes and a 34% increase in value in 2 years

    The other parcel was commercial. The 2018 taxes were $1,844,000. The 2020 taxes were $1,475,000. A decrease of $369,000. A 20% decrease in taxes and a 2% increase in valuation.

  15. Each year the majority of legislators show up with personal agendas to be fulfilled by pet legislation. They do not come with an eye on improving anything. They wrap themselves in the flag of freedom and commence doing the opposite. The one and only issue that they line up for “freedom” is the 2nd amendment and it is not under assault in any sense. But it sounds good in the echo chamber, then begin limiting everything else under the sun.

  16. Thank you Dave Kangas*
    Mar 2, 2021, 4:22 pm

    Thanks Dave for your post reinforcing the problem of special interests impacting legislation. The nexus is clear. Unfortunately, this $$ is widespread. In a recent Netflix documentary on the power of the huge pharmaceutical industry and its subsidies & perks,, the reported pointed out that there are two pharmaceutical lobbyists for every US Congressperson!

    So there a lot of angry taxpayers out there, and these people need to flood the offices of the politicians with protests AND with their ideas & suggestion to help solve the problems we face.

    IMO, property tax relief for Treasure Valley residents and some other (but not all) Idaho Residential property tax payers is must. Indexing assessments or caps on County Assessors’ appraisals must be put into law! Especially for all residential property owners & taxpayers who live in areas where the appraisals of their homes are going through the roof. County Assessors point out that they are only following the law that requires assessing homes “at current market value.” But what have assessors done to help us? Nothing! They need to also be contacting our legislators. We need a solution that does not penalize homeowners in small population counties, but helps those of us who have seen our property taxes increase 20-50% over the last 3 years. Implementing that kind of law is not impossible.

    You state that “there is little in these bills (S1108 & Rep. Harris’ bill) that actually help Idaho’s …” But the bills do offer help to homeowners. Whether it is little or more, that is better than the Zero relief we got last year.

    PS There is waste in local government, especially in Ada County and Boise City. I advocate the creation of a citizens’ committee to oversee and call out city and county budget proposals and current use that are wasteful.
    Thanks again Dave and others who have posted in this discussion (that doesn’t include you Easterner).

  17. “Indexing assessments or caps on County Assessors’ appraisals must be put into law! Especially for all residential property owners & taxpayers who live in areas where the appraisals of their homes are going through the roof. County Assessors point out that they are only following the law that requires assessing homes “at current market value.””

    This gets to the heart of the matter. What we have right now is a situation where a bunch of morons are chasing up residential real estate prices using easy money loans and county assessors are using it as the justification to raise property tax while the incomes used to pay the tax have basically stayed the same. We don’t have anything remotely resembling a free market in residential real estate at the time being, so the old rules of a “current market value” don’t apply. We simply don’t know what the true market value is when we have such stupid things as bidding wars happening at the moment. But we all know from experience that real estate markets can stop and reverse on a dime, where recent buyers have a bad hangover and prices drop like a rock as they all try to escape at once. That is what we will experience in the very near future.

  18. dang! No love?
    Mr Kangas states:
    Idaho legislators
    *reduce the power of the Governor’s office

    *reduce the effectiveness of the Attorney General’s office

    *remove the ability of the PUBLIC to object and initiate legislation through the initiative process,

    *limit local taxing authority

    *cutting (high)income taxes

    And he asks, “just why do we need a legislature at all?”

    The REAL question is ‘why do we need THIS legislature?”

    Kudo for DKangas, but poba on Eastie for the same message? smh

    “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
    It is Eastie, and the truth is the sun.
    Arise, fair sun, and spread the truth” creds The Bard

  19. He might be right, but
    Mar 2, 2021, 10:18 pm

    but I still don’t trust realtors. They worth about $500 per transaction, not 6%

  20. ToGoAwayGuy
    Mar 3, 2021, 12:16 am

    “Go Away Easterner” ironically — his/her words here — “spews” right-wing “pride and prejudice.”

  21. Plus one for Go Away
    Mar 3, 2021, 1:11 pm

    and minus one for “spews” If anyone spews egoism and bias, it is Easterner. If one fails to see the bitterness in this narcissistic Easterner, that is your own silo-sighted bias. Even a “hot-wing” can see there is no value or wisdom in Easterner’s tirades.

  22. Easterner, please don’t flatter yourself so through comparison. Mr. Kangas did not try to be cute and clever by resorting to sophomoric, insulting, bumper sticker sloganeering.

  23. Looks like Easterner has a good point. Idaho legislators embarrass us again on the national level.

  24. Sorry, PD. I don’t see the misguided commentary a definition of the Idaho Legislature unless you were already gleefully searching a cudgel.

  25. I think it is noteworthy that the Idaho legislators over turned a vote by their constituents to give THEM term limits. I am not sure what year but I would guess sometime in the 1980’s. Along with that TO MANY of Idaho’s laws are adopted from red states. I’m believing a lot from Texas. Texas the state that doesn’t want to be told what to do by the feds and the people aren’t smart enough to turn off the water supply to their home when it is freezing outside and they don’t have power to heat their home. YEAH WE WANT TO BE LIKE THEM.

  26. chicago sam
    Mar 5, 2021, 6:02 pm

    Online article in the Idaho Press and likely tomorrows paper detailing Rep. Skaug’s proposed bill which is sitting on Rev. and Taxation chairman Harris desk. May take a stick of dynamite to move it but the fuse has been lit. Bill would remove the cap on homeowners exemptions.

  27. Boise Model
    Mar 6, 2021, 10:08 am

    Seems sales tax reduction bill should be relabeled the Developer and Construction Industry Profitability Bill. Since all construction materials are subject to sales tax.

    An easy question for the State Tax Commission is how much sales tax is paid by the construction industry?

    Only consumers that spend more than 50k on taxable purchases would see a savings.

  28. Boise Model
    Mar 6, 2021, 10:51 am

    Obviously the Secretary of State has not got the message that he must first and foremost “tow the party line”. The latest move on Friday by the legislature was a threat to cut his budget.

    There are other examples of this same tactic.

    You wonder if the legislature’s next step will be to go after the governor’s budget or the budget of the Idaho Supreme Court.

    After that…

    Make the process to recall legislators impossible?

  29. This is a fork in the road for the democrats. If they can identify the republicans in the legislature with the lowest cognitive functioning they could pick up some seats for promoting common sense at least, and tax relief and education at best.

  30. TFCow: Wouldn’t that necessitate superior cognitive functioning?

  31. Looking through the list of contributors, one can find that most of them are businesses and firms that ALL got a free ride during COVID. I’m going to make this plain and simple….I used to believe that catchy phrase liberals like to spew “taxes equal civilization” which we are supposed to infer that we wouldn’t have anything without government. PHOOEY! I have come to see government as a perfect weapon for corrupt mobs to wield and enslave the masses in a fake democracy, making them think they actually have a say in anything. This whole COVID scam proved that.

    Taxes are just a form of theft to extract money to launder to special interests and then circle back to the very politicians that created them. I don’t trust the GOP leadership any more than I trust the Democratic Socialist Party as the “loyal opposition.”

    I see where a Mileage Tax is being pushed as a trial balloon from D.C. As a former Greenie, I can tell you what else is coming. They will NOT STOP until you have NO MORE car and most of your possessions are confiscated….just like the World Economic Forum is planning. You will live in a small abode, and you will be “sustainable.” One nick at a time.

    Doubt me now and we’ll check again next year.

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