Another revenue boost for Idaho Power
I am one of many in Idaho living on a fixed income. I suspect others like me are noticing that our cost of living increases are far smaller than Idaho Power rate increases. That makes it very hard for us to make ends meet. Last month, while I visited my son over the holidays, I turned off all the utilities in my apartment. Still, my power bill was $32.52 for just nine days. My neighbor keeps his thermostat on low and said his bill was over $100 for the billing period. These are small apartments. What really hurts is that I keep reading that the state is considering repealing the personal property tax for businesses. Im sure that Idaho Powers profits would get a lovely boost with that and meanwhile my power bill will continue to climb and my rent will probably go up, too. This is absolutely and appallingly unfair. Does the Legislature really represent the people or just business interests? I urge all fixed incomers to unite against repeal of this tax. Call your legislator now!
MONA BLONDIS, Boise
Big business drives an excessive approach
All this talk of repealing the personal property tax makes me so angry. I spoke with an Idaho business owner who said the tax on business equipment isnt such a big deal. Small businesses arent driving this repeal. Its the big guys who dont want to have to pay taxes on things like power lines and railroad tracks and generators. So instead, our county and city revenues will take the hit, meaning we citizens in those taxing districts will see our services diminish and our real estate taxes go up. Get the picture?
Im especially irate about the sheer waste of time. The 2008 Legislature passed a perfectly reasonable solution that exempts $100,000 of business property HB 599aa which was set to go into effect when the states general funds increased by 3 percent over the 2008 level. They dont need to reinvent the wheel, just waive that contingency and activate the 2008 bill now. It would give relief to 90 percent of Idaho businesses while reducing revenues by only $20 million instead of $140 million with a total repeal. Big business needs to be accountable and responsible to Idaho citizens and pay their fair share.
NADINE YORK, Boise
Merit pay law was fraught with flaws
If I were still a teacher, I wouldnt have received a bonus because I taught at South Junior High School in Boise, with a large immigrant population and struggling test results, although the staff is outstanding. However, if one was lucky enough to teach at a school with a high demographic clientele, test scores resulted in bonuses. Just to further add to the injustice of merit pay, some bonuses were actually given to teachers who had been fired (for incompetency) because they had been teaching at schools which had achieved the rewarded test score status. That's how absurd the merit pay law was. Thank God it was repealed by voters with more common sense than Mr. Luna and our legislators. Because of the timing of the three Luna laws repeal, bonuses were passed along this year anyway. Three cheers to the three Lunstrum sister teachers! I wish every teacher who received a bonus would do the same: Donate your bonus to your choice of educational causes. Perhaps consider contributing to a school challenged by an influx of English language learners, high mobility or other socioeconomic factors.
BARBARA COCHRANE, Boise
How will we keep our great teachers?
In response to the article, Idaho teachers concerned about class size, I would just like to say that this issue is taking a huge toll on our education system. At my high school, teachers have been struggling because their salaries have been cut, a prep period was eliminated, and class sizes have grown. These circumstances are unacceptable because the teachers are the ones educating the upcoming generations and giving us a chance to get into college and be able to obtain a degree. How can they teach successfully when their pay is horrible, they have mounds of curriculum to go through, and they have huge class sizes to where there is standing room only? Some say we need a completely free education with no school fees, but schools are struggling as it is. They need that money to help support teachers and coaches. Education should be the last place to make budget cuts. Every teacher I have had works hard and does the best they can to help us students succeed, yet they are underappreciated and underpaid. Big changes and cuts need to be made in order to keep our great teachers around.
MICAYLA HUSTON, Boise
Dictators thrive when they control the news
In response to Jerry Willamsons letter of Jan. 13. Dictators will always have more and better weapons than the people they suppress. The key difference between a dictatorship and a democracy is not how well armed are its citizens, it is a free press. Dictators thrive when they control the flow of information.
DON A. ESSIG, Boise
Following the French?
There are a couple of things that I question our government about, but there is just one that stands out. Its that if you look back toward the French Revolution, it started because the government needed money.
So the French government raised the taxes. At this point the people were outraged, thus creating a start of a revolution. America is in so much debt right now and they keep on spending more then they can take in. To me, it kind of looks like were heading down the same path as the French, but I hope it never gets to that.
DONOVAN WRIGHT, seventh grade, Lowell Scott Middle School, Boise