Like many of you, I watched Governor Brad Little’s State of the State address this afternoon hoping to hear him promote smaller government and fiscal responsibility, values that conservative Republicans hold dear. I regret to say that I was left mostly disappointed.
Governor Little began his speech with how Idaho has become one of the best states in the nation, boasting a strong economy, low unemployment, and relatively safe cities and streets.
He also shared how Idaho banned critical race theory in public schools, protected women’s sports from biological men who pretend to be women, outlawed diversity statements in university hiring, and stood up to China by preventing belligerent foreign nations from buying property in our state.
These are all great accomplishments, and I applaud the Governor for bringing attention to these milestones.
However, I am once again concerned with the amount of spending the Governor has proposed in his new budget. He continues to use the word “investment” for what really should be described as “spending,” as in spending our tax dollars for projects that might be better suited for local government or even the private sector.
The Governor has proposed an additional $2 billion for public school infrastructure, $800 million for transportation, doubled funding for school advisors, and more. Despite this, he claimed that his new budget cuts $200 million from last year and is the most fiscally conservative budget since the Great Recession.
Now, I don’t know how that math works out, but I’m skeptical. As with prior years, this address was all about how much of your money the Governor wants to spend (or invest) throughout the state. While I’m sure the state agencies and special interests who stand to benefit from that spending were happy, I will continue to advocate for the forgotten people of Idaho who are yet again asked to foot the bill.