Our View: CPA Silver has the right skills to be Idaho state treasurer

May 12, 2014 

Deborah Silver

Deborah Silver

The office of Idaho state treasurer is one of the few statewide races that drew multiple competitors among Democrats for the May 20 primary.

Deborah Silver and W. Lane Startin, who both hail from the Twin Falls area but have spent time living in the Treasure Valley, entered the race as Democrats in the final hours of the filing deadline back in March.

Both have been active in Democratic politics and see an opportunity.

There is a perceived vulnerability assigned to the re-election of Republican Treasurer Ron Crane, who is unopposed in that primary, but who will be challenged in the November general election. We say perceived because it depends on your stance regarding a financial flap that erupted early this year after an audit. Crane says he made $122,000 for Idaho over an admittedly volatile period of investing in 2008 and 2009. A Legislative Services Office audit said that Crane and his office lost $10 million and that there is the potential to lose another $17 million.

Silver is a certified public accountant who has been in practice with her husband for decades. She crunches numbers for a living and is no stranger to audits and accounting practices.

We don't know how many Idaho treasurers have been CPAs and we're not even convinced it's necessary to get the job done, but how could it hurt?

Startin, who lists his occupation in our Voter Guide as a freelance writer and editor, claims work experience with a credit card company, financial services and management skills among the tools he would use to get the job done.

We don't have to go much further than that to endorse Silver to advance in the primary. Her accounting scrutiny alone should benefit voters during the campaign. Plus, Silver promises that there is more to come out regarding Crane's handling of the state's finances.

In one of her answers to our Voter Guide questions, "What are your top three priorities?" Silver singled out something that shows her attention to detail:

"No. 3 . . . Review of the unclaimed property activities. Is anything being done to connect Idahoans to their unclaimed property other than a list on the Internet? I found Idaho Democratic governor candidate A.J. Balukoff on the list. Is he really so difficult to locate?"

Even with all of his zeal and out-of-the-box ideas on "being an activist" and expanding the treasurer's role to provide college funding opportunities for Idaho students, Startin seems to possess the interests and skills better suited to someone who wants to push policy.

Given the choice of two people who want to be treasurer - both of whom made it clear that their motivation was that Crane not run unopposed - we will give the edge to Silver, the person most comfortable analyzing numbers.

Granted, the state is a much bigger and more complex client than any Silver now serves. But if she were to win the primary and defeat Crane, she would be equipped with good skills and proceed under what she promises would be a new age of transparency.

Who else has the Statesman's editorial board endorsed in the May 20 primary? Read here

"Our View" is the editorial position of the Idaho Statesman. It is an unsigned opinion expressing the consensus of the Statesman's editorial board. To comment, email editorial@idahostatesman.com.

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