BEDKE OFFERS POSITIVE CHANGE FOR IDAHO
The Times-News, Twin Falls
Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale, has served in the House since 1996 and has been speaker for the past three terms. House Assistant Majority Leader Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, has been a representative since 2000.
A look at their voting records over the past decade reveals few significant differences between the two, and yet Bedke is challenging Denney for the speaker position, saying, Its time for a change. We agree. We think Bedke would be a welcome change from the strong-armed tactics and dubious party loyalty exhibited by Denney over the past two years.
In January, Denney tried to remove Magic Valley businessman Randy Hansen and former Rep. Dolores Crow from the state redistricting committee and failed. The state Supreme Court squashed Denneys attempt and revealed a significant crack in the speakers ability to exercise power and influence policy.
A few months later, Denney donated $10,000 to the House Victory Fund, a political action committee that donated to Republican challengers to six GOP incumbents. When all six won their primaries and Denneys contributions became public, he was forced to choose between either an Im vindictive or Im ignorant defense, and conveniently chose the latter.
As an editorial board, we have had and will no doubt continue to disagree with Bedke on issues (Occupy Boise; Students Come First). But our experience in dealing with him is that he is direct and forthright. Denneys recent antics have shown everyone that hes anything but.
When the Republican caucus meets in Boise on Dec. 5, we urge them to elect Scott Bedke as Idahos next speaker of the House.
IDAHOANS CAN EXPECT TO PAY MORE
The Post Register, Idaho Falls
Cutting taxes for the middle class helps the economy. People struggling to pay the bills use their savings to purchase items they could not otherwise afford. Everybody wins.
Reducing tax rates for those whose pockets are full does nothing for the economy.
A recent Congressional Research Service report looked at tax rates since 1945. Its conclusion should be a lesson for policymakers: The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie.
And yet, over and over, the Idaho Republican legislative supermajority has ignored the truism laid out by the CRS report.
Last year, lawmakers cut income taxes for top earners, an annual gift of $35 million that will keep on giving. And now, despite 10 years of evidence that the wealth is not trickling down, the GOP is ready to repeat its mistakes.
Pushed by the big business lobby and supported by Gov. Butch Otter, lawmakers are poised to eliminate the personal property tax that corporations pay on equipment. That financial hit estimated in the $135 million range would gut city and county budgets. Because local government has mandated services to provide, those costs will be passed on to homeowners and small businesses.
Elections matter. Idahoans chose a Legislature dominated by Republicans eager to cut taxes. We get that. What is difficult to understand is why the GOP refuses to consider tax cuts that would help the economy and working poor.
Not long ago, it stood poised to do just that. As he was preparing to leave office in 2006, then-Gov. James Risch called upon the Legislature to phase out the sales tax on groceries. Doing so would have saved a family of four $400 annually.
The question is this: Will our Legislature, for once, put the interests of everyday Idahoans ahead of the goodies requested by the lobbyists?
We'll have our answer soon enough.
If the last decade is any indication, prepare to be disappointed. Then, when the corporations get their equipment tax break, prepare to pay more.