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.
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