Bedke joins misguided Sagebrush Rebellion
The Statesmans Jan. 12 Dan Popkey story, Bedke backs Idaho management of federal lands, puts new House Speaker Scott Bedke in cahoots with departed Sagebrush Rebellion folks like Helen Chenoweth (remember the black helicopters?) and with current anti-fed zealot and ideologue Raul Labrador.
Bedke thinks he would have a better chance of controlling resource management decisions on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands if the Idaho Lands Department were in charge. He could push state employees around more easily.
Bedke, referring to the management change, is quoted by Dan Popkey as asking: Its worth (sic) of our best effort, isnt it? The succinct response to that question is, No.
DON CHAPMAN, McCall
Boise demonstrates its support for educators
I read on Jan. 9 about the low morale of teachers due to salary, increased workload and negative public perception. As a teacher, I know that the last few years have been difficult for all school employees, with shrinking budgets and the feeling that we were being attacked by our own state superintendent and Legislature. But I also want to say thank you to the awesome people of Boise, who came out of the woodwork to support us in that crisis. I have been awed and deeply touched by the tremendous work of people like Maria Greeley and Mike Lanza and others who dedicated so much time and effort defeating the Luna laws. The Boise schools administration was also very supportive of teachers and continued to say positive things about its relationship with the teachers union even when it was being vilified. I will never consider leaving my job as long as I feel like people believe in me. It helps me stick with it despite bigger classes, more duties and less pay. Thank you, Boise! I know we can work toward reasonable reforms together.
KARI FILSON, Boise
A test of our regard for Idahos children
Recently, KTVB spoke about the money surplus from the states education fund, $30 million. They spoke about how the state must decide what to do with it. I can say that it was no surprise that one option was Gov. Otters property tax proposal. If the money does not go right back to education, the governor and the rest of the elected officials of this state have once again shown to us, the citizens who they are supposed to work for, that the children of this state mean nothing to them. Give the money to business and keep wages low in this state by not educating our children. The less educated we are, the cheaper we can get paid. Idaho is last in wages and right at the bottom of education. Youre doing a good thing, Idaho government.
RYAN ALBERS, Nampa
Businesses should pay for the system they demand
Idaho students dont qualify for jobs offered by Idaho employers. I keep hearing this. Yet businesses want to contribute less to Idaho education by repealing the personal property tax. Am I the only one that finds this contradictory? Its puzzling that this proposal has the support of our governor and Legislature who have already placed Idaho at or near the bottom in the nation for school funding.
Business keeps dictating what it needs from the educational system, but now theyll be demanding more and paying less. The burden of meeting businesses educational standards will have shifted even more to our citizen taxpayers. Maybe that STEM acronym we keep hearing about really stands for STick it to EM.
More likely, this change to Idaho tax code is simply another naked attempt to strangle our teachers into submission. Maybe Tom Luna and his Big Business supporters can get what the voters refused them in the last election. Am I the only one that is a little vague on how this benefits Idaho or even Idaho business? Whos standing up for Idahos kids?
GARY HANES, Boise
RISCH AND OTTER
Their dubious legacies
In the past few months, you published a piece on the legacies of various Idaho politicians. You mentioned that former Gov. Jim Rischs legacy would be having lowered property taxes in Idaho. While property taxes were (temporarily) reduced, this came at the cost of making a temporary 1-cent increase in sales tax permanent. So was the net effect an increase or a decrease in overall taxes? I guess that depends on how much property you own vs. how much of your income you have to spend to live.
Under Gov. Butch Otter, the state budget for education was reduced to the point that school districts have had to ask patrons for property tax levies in order to operate. So we are right back where we were before Rischs supposed relief, except we still have the 1 percent sales tax increase.
Would it not be just as fair to have said that Risch has a legacy of increasing the sales tax and Otter has a legacy of increasing property taxes? The net effect of the legacies of these two governors is an increase in taxes, and we still do not have the free and equitable education promised by the Constitution.
JAMES PAULS, Eagle
Traffic safety starts with citizenship
A study done in California states that unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal crash. The article (Statesman, Jan. 16) goes on to state that most unlicensed drivers in CA are illegal immigrants. Immigrant rights groups believe illegal immigrants should be eligible for licenses. The most unbelievable part of this article is a quote from a 42-year-old illegal immigrant We need drivers licenses to be comfortable and be trusted and follow the law. Hmmm, seems that following the law would start with not being in the United States illegally. Heres a clue, start by becoming a legal citizen.
TONI SWEENEY, Boise