Lots of talk from Governor Otter’s State of the State message about education and improving our technical and vocational education efforts, but no talk about how they are going to fund these programs. This is something Steve Ackerman and I have been talking about for some time that our school system has been lacking. He is looking to increase the education budget by 7.4% over $100 million, but again is hoping for an unlikely expansion of the tax base to pay for it.
He brought up the $30 million state expansion on medical care for those 78,000 who have no coverage based on wellness programs. This may have some merit if it is implemented properly, and I would underline properly because we all know how government has a tendency to do things in the least efficient way. Again, he didn’t say where he would get the money from.
He talked about how well the state was doing in bringing in new business and adding new jobs, but what he didn’t mention is that our income growth and our median income still lag way behind the rest of the country by substantial margins. His jobs program is continuing to use taxpayer money to entice new companies to move here, with the government picking winners and losers instead of lowering taxes for our current business owners. This is like robbing Peter to pay Paul. (Obama tried this strategy and it doesn’t work its bad economic policy, can you say Solyndra the government financed solar energy company that went belly up.)
The Governor made no call to lower income taxes or the regressive grocery tax that hurts the middle and lower income citizens disproportionately, so those of you who were looking for a tax break this year “Forgetaboutit”. There was no talk about reducing the more than 700 different sets of executive branch administrative rules that impede capital investment. In essence the governor gave us no vision for economic prosperity for either Idaho families or small business.
We didn’t hear one word about getting our land back from the federal government. Instead he proposed that the land board receive an additional $920,000 for initial fire response which is a drop in the bucket in the cost of fires during a bad fire season.
The Governor made no mention of defunding planned-parenthood, or how he would handle another try at adding the words. We didn’t hear anything about giving the citizens of Idaho the right of permitless constitutional carry.
I found little to cheer about in his speech, and it appears that once again we have 36% of our income coming in from the Federal government and no real way to pay for the proposed increases except for the Hope of economic growth. We’ve heard this story before from our current president, you know the one who added 8 trillion to the national debt. He called it Hope and Change. We call it no hope and a pocket filled with change for taxpayers.