Candidate for Idaho Lt. Governor, Janice McGeachin, from Idaho Falls spoke to the most devout true Republicans in the party at the May 20th Benewah Republican Liberty Caucus annual dinner in St. Maries.
McGeachin served five consecutive terms as a State Representative from 2002 to 2012. The first four years she served on the Revenue Tax Committee and said she worked to hold down taxes in our state. She also said the first bill she brought to the legislature was a bill to limit state spending.
She served for four years on the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee and then served as chair on the House Health and Welfare Committee. After eight years she decided to leave, however, House leadership asked her to stay on in light of the new changes coming with Obamacare, so she stayed on another two years as chairman of that committee.
McGeachin opened her speech with a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.”
On resisting government growth she said, “As government grows there is more opportunity for corruption, cronyism, and invasion of our personal freedoms. In the past 5 years, our legislature and governor grew our government an average of 5% per year whereas, our economy in Idaho was only growing an average of 1.9%. So the first bill I took to the legislature when I went over there, was a bill to cap the rate of growth in the budget to the rate of growth in the economy and inflation.
“Trying to put a spending restraint on politicians is like taking candy out of the mouths of children. So, the first year I couldn’t get the bill out of committee at all. The second year we got it out of committee and it was killed on the House floor. But those are big things to try to do when you are a freshman legislator.
“My husband gave me some good advice. He said to just go over there and just try and make small incremental changes and you’ll build a reputation of being able to accomplish things and people will start to trust you. People have to know that when you speak you are speaking the truth. So you start by being effective at making small incremental changes and then suddenly you start being able to do bigger things like when we had to cut back our budgets instead of increasing our spending after the 2008 crash.
“Working to reduce the Medicaid budget is what we did in our committee across the board so it didn’t affect major programs. Other big endeavors were working to fight against special interest legislation and then the last effort in my service was fighting to keep Obamacare from being implemented into our state.
“So to me, limited government, bureaucracy, and cronyism are kind of tied together. I see them as having a lot in common.
“The bureaucracy in our government is another thing that I have seen in the past five years that has really concerned me and has caused me to become interested in getting involved. The good old boys in Boise will say and do anything to hang onto their power. I’ve seen it time and time again, where the good old boys will say or do whatever it takes to tear down elected officials doing good work, businesses that speak out against cronyism and ordinary citizens fighting the good fight whenever their cronyism power is threatened.
RAMPANT CRONYISM AND CORRUPTION
She said the first experience she had with cronyism was in 2005 during a battle with the Idaho Corporate Headquarters Act which was a narrowly written piece of legislation to benefit one company in the state of Idaho, Albertsons Corporation. They were trying to keep Albertsons here and they were giving all kinds of tax credits, property tax incentives, income tax, payroll tax, and sales tax breaks. All kinds of special interest tax credits to keep that one company to stay in Idaho. She said she voted against that and has always voted against those kinds of special interest pact policies because she has always believed in tax policies that are fair and balanced.
Another instance of cronyism she said she stood up against was the Idaho Education Network which she called a flawed contract between the state of Idaho and two companies. One broadband company was made up of all the small phone companies from around the state and they offered the best competitive price, the best service and the best product and they won the contract. Under the current administration, their name was just stripped out of the contract and replaced by Quest who made large contributions to members of the legislature and the current administration. She stated that was a $60 million dollar contract. The resulting lawsuit went all the way to the Supreme Court, which called it a corrupt contract, and the taxpayer had to foot the bill for $39 million for that. She said that was probably one of the biggest and worst examples of cronyism she has seen in our state. The CEO of that organization representing the Idaho companies is now McGeachin’s campaign treasurer, Greg Lowe.
“As you know there are other incidences of corruption such as the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) creating fraudulent billing and they agreed with the current administration to settle out for a million dollars. In the last five years, there was a program called the Idaho Opportunity Fund in which the way the legislation was written gave the discretion to the Director of the Department of Commerce. It’s not even written in the code how the funds should be dispersed. You just go to the director and make your case so he can dole out the money. I have seen grant money given out to one company for $800,000. These are our tax dollars that we work hard for. Small business owners don’t have the lobbyist to go to Boise to lobby for us.
“There is a company that’s been drilling oil in our state, and the legislation was so loosely written that they’re pulling resources out of our land, our state, without even being required to report anything for six months. It’s time that we put an end to this kind of thing.
HEALTHCARE AND FIGHTING OBAMACARE
“I was chair of the Health and Welfare Committee in 2010 when the PPACA (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), otherwise known as Obamacare came out. It was the following year that these rules and reg’s started coming down to the state of Idaho. As chair of the committee I had studied the law, unlike the members of our Congress, I said these proposals are going to start coming to our state so my committee was going to know what they’re voting on. I took my dollars out of my pocket, I didn’t use taxpayer dollars, and printed a copy of the law for each one of my committee members. I highlighted the parts of the law I felt were relevant especially with the establishment of the health insurance exchange because that’s where the enforcement of the individual mandate was going to take place. I took the book and went to the Governor and put it in front of him and told him if we do this we are rolling over for Barack Obama and we are implementing ObamaCare in our state.
“So we held off on that my last year in the legislature, but the following year the health insurance exchange was implemented. Our legislature and the current administration rolled over for Barack Obama and implemented that law in our state. What it has done, is that it has eliminated choices that we had, yet they boasted about all these people that have been able to buy insurance off the exchange. The bureaucrats don’t understand the unintended consequences. It was written that if you have coverage on a group plan then you’re not eligible to enroll and receive a subsidy through the exchange. A lot of the people that are buying insurance now through the exchange at four times the amount they used to pay.
She mentioned that their own company decided to give their employees a $400 allowance to buy their own insurance. She said there are some really big decisions coming up for our state and it is very important for people to know who these people are that are going to be put into positions of elected office. McGeachin also said she was all for the complete repeal of ObamaCare and she still is. She pointed out that that is not what we have right now. There is a provision that came through the house that will give the states two options. One will give the state the ability to waive the 10 essential benefits that are required in every single health policy and among other things create more of a free market solution for themselves. The other thing it will do is to allow states to apply for Medicaid block grants to administer their Medicaid programs that way.
OUR FUTURE REQUIRES VIGILANCE
“My first year under Governor Kempthorne was the longest legislative session in Idaho history. We were held captive to raise taxes and I voted not to raise your taxes under extreme pressure. I also stood strong against a lot of these special interest pieces of legislation like I held ObamaCare off my last year. There is a lot of pressure out there by the lobbyist and legislative leadership, the good old boys in Boise. “I think what I see coming up, from what I’ve experienced, is nothing compared to what I see is coming down the pike in our state and it’s the result of bigger government and cronyism. When the government gets bigger there is more pressure inserted onto the policy makers because there is so much money involved. You need to know by asking the people running for office what their policy is on a specific issue because if they don’t say ‘I will apply for the waiver,’ ‘I will fight for our state’s sovereignty,’ and ‘I will do whatever I can to keep ourselves free from this ever-encroaching federal government,’ then I guess it depends on your philosophy of life, but I think that’s the wrong direction for us to go.
“The good old boys will say and do anything to stop people like me from coming back to Boise. They say things like she dresses real nicely and is a nice person but she didn’t accomplish anything while she was in the legislature and they said other things too. But I think if you are someone who fights against tax increases, fights to protect against cronyism and special interest legislation then that is a badge of honor that I hold. I won’t be deterred by what they have to say. If you place your faith in me and send me to Boise as your Lt. Governor I will never, ever roll over on you, the taxpayer.
“The kind of Republican that I am is the kind of Republican defined in the RLC Statement of Principles, the kind of Republican that will stand up and fight for the principles we all share, even when it comes to exposing ourselves to extreme amounts of pressure.
“So if you will vote for me as your next Lt. Governor, I promise, I will never forget who my boss is and that is all of you who put me there.”