In the March 10 Idaho Statesman, William D. Fay claims that HB 547 violates the principle of local control, a sacred tenet of conservative philosophy. This bill would prohibit local governments from imposing construction regulations that exceed those established statewide. What Fay misses is that this bill upholds another crucial conservative principle: The government should not interfere with the private, voluntary, honest interactions between people and organizations.
Homebuilders could still build homes that exceed state requirements, increasing the upfront cost for the future homeowner while potentially reducing future costs of homeownership. Or, if the builder or buyer would rather have lower construction costs and potentially increased costs in the future, they can build a house accordingly. Homebuilders know what their homebuyers want better than government officials do.
I am in the market for my first home. Though a brand new, energy efficient home would be nice, I cannot readily afford one. I will voluntarily take increased utility costs in the future because it might just be the only way I can purchase a home. HB 547 would help protect individuals like me, who are on the financial margin, from being priced out of a home by our local governments.
Phil Haunschild, policy researcher, Idaho Freedom Foundation, Boise