LABRADOR AND SIMPSON
Labrador stands up for principles
Regarding the recent disagreement between Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Mike Simpson, many pundits claim compromise is necessary to get anything done in politics. Compromise is good on issues, such as where to put a street, or how much to pay teachers, etc. However, there should be no compromise on principles, or the Constitution, regardless of who benefits.
Congressman Labrador should be respected for standing for principles and the Constitution, regardless of the popularity of his position, or who benefits. He was sent to Congress to represent his Idaho constituents, not to please the majority.
JACK STUART, Meridian
Compromise makes government work
I read with interest about the dispute between congressmen Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador, and I have a question for Mr. Labrador. When did compromising come to mean caving in? When did compromising come to mean weakness, instead of you are doing your job? Your action shows you believe in compromise, it just should be the other side doing all of it. Compromise has always been the foundation for what makes our government work. Without it, our government grounds to a halt. I cannot wonder if that is not the true intent.
CAROL PULLEN, Boise
Simpsons attack insults Idahoans
Mike Simpson has not respected or worked to promote the status of Idahoans for more than a decade and his attack on the only man with our best interests in mind is insulting to Idaho taxpayers. John Boehner is a total waste of skin and has failed at every opportunity to protect the Constitution.
Idaho has three of the worst in the country in Mike Crapo, Jim Risch and especially Simpson.
Thank you, Raul Labrador, and keep up the fight!
WENDIE LOSHBAUGH, Meridian
Governor sends wrong message
I was disappointed with Gov. Butch Otters State of the State address on Jan. 7. Increasing mental health services for inmates sends the wrong message. The kids involved in mass shootings over the past 20 years were not involved with corrections prior to the attacks on their victims. The time for mental health services to be before people start getting into legal trouble. Just throwing money at Correction sends the message that the only way to get help with mental health issues is to commit a crime. I dont understand why lawmakers cant see this!
MICHELLE TURNER, Greenleaf
An encouraging move to treatment
The Idaho Statesmans editorial endorsement of Gov. Otters support for a secure mental health facility south of Boise represents a welcome voice, given that it places the operation of this facility within the context of treatment, rather than incarceration.
The recent and tragic spate of rampage shootings have driven otherwise enlightened commentators to speak of firearms violence and mental illness in overly simplistic, cause-and-effect terms.
The actual data, derived from a variety of international sources, suggests a relatively strong correlation between firearms and risk for suicide, but relatively weak correlations between mental illness and homicide or suicide with the intent to harm strangers. In other words, society fools itself when acting on the belief that mental illness per se predisposes people towards violence, and that locking people up makes for greater security.
Everyone might do well to Web search the terms famous people + mental illness. Names such as Neil Armstrong, let alone Abraham Lincoln, J.C. Penney, Isaac Newton and any other number of noted artists, writers, scientists, athletes, physicians and politicians will appear on such lists.
People living with mental illness deserve full support. Incarceration without treatment toward recovery offers little more than inhumane punishment.
PETER WOLLHEIM, LPC, Boise
Junk tax bad; tax junk food instead
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, Im eager to see our state repeal the burdensome (loathsome) personal property tax on business owners. Heres my suggestion for replacing the lost revenue: a 1 percent tax on junk food, such as candy, soda pop and bags of chips. Coffee and tea are actually good for you, so they should be excluded. Ice cream is dairy; cookies and cakes can be debated, depending on how much money is needed to make up the shortfall. In my opinion, this tax would certainly be more equitable than taxing business owners over and over on the same chairs, tables, shelves, dishes, pencils and nails.
MARCIA YIAPAN, Nampa
Shifting the burden to homeowners
Can someone please tell us why we should be endorsing a repeal of the personal property tax for Idaho businesses? Apparently it frees business owners of $141 million of taxes.
From recent census data there are 575,550 households in the state. Of these, there are 70 percent who nominally own their residences. Assuming the foregone tax burden eventually trickles down to homeowners, this increases their/our personal property tax bill $350. Spread evenly throughout all households as a sales tax increase, this increases the annual tax burden of the average household by $245 per year.
Considering the fact that this year we saw our homeowners property tax bills rise by 20 percent, I fail to see the reason Idaho households should rush into the street to celebrate.
PAUL KLINK, Boise
Time for a new power company
I want a new power company.
Idaho Power burns too much fossil fuel from its three coal-fired and three natural gas-fired power plants. Its Jim Bridger coal-fired plant burns 1,000 tons of coal an hour.
Idaho Power seems uninterested in reducing its carbon dioxide emissions. This past summer it built natural gas-burning Langley Gulch just south of New Plymouth. It could have engaged in more demand side management, which would have reduced emissions or built a solar farm.
Idaho Power has one solar program, net metering, but it recently filed with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to reduce incentives for homeowners to install photovoltaic panels. If these new policies are approved, we can expect little growth in photovoltaic installations in southern Idaho.
I want a power company that understands the need for renewable energy and understands the perils of continuing its 20th century practices of burning massive amounts of coal and natural gas.
My buddies tell me Idaho Power does not care and will not change.
I want a new power company. Any chance the city of Boise can form its own power company, like Boulder, Colo., did recently?
REED BURKHOLDER, Boise