Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor

Conceal carry

It is with great disappointment and some disbelief that our Legislature passed the bill allowing 18-20-year-olds to conceal carry without a permit or training. I can’t imagine how we have come to such a place that we seriously think that is a good idea. Putting concealed weapons in the hands (pockets) of kids barely out of high school with no training requirement is absurd to say the least. Where are the adults in this Legislature? Is there an epidemic of assaults on these kids that requires the use of deadly force that the public isn’t aware of? How many “stand your ground” type of shootings are going to occur because of this unnecessary and dangerous law? We have seen that it is difficult enough for trained police officers to properly determine when the use of deadly force is appropriate, and somehow our Legislature deemed it a good idea to pass this horrendous bill?

There needs to be a voice of reason running the state.

Chris Ransom, Nampa

Public financing

As Boise embarks on the most expensive publicly financed building projects in the city’s history, we must understand how their funding affects taxpayers. Much reporting leaves the impression that lease-financing has little or no impact on taxpayers. Lease-financing is often treated as a black-box conduit, where money materializes out of thin air – like manna from heaven.

Here’s how the $32 million to $37 million lease-financing conduit would work for a civic center/library project: Boise’s urban renewal agency, Capital City Development Corp. (CCDC), would issue bonds that would be repaid, with interest, by Boise city in yearly payments from taxpayer revenue – for 20 years.

This type of financing is nearly always more expensive than general-obligation bonds backed by a voter-approved levy. Urban renewal district lease-financing has higher issuance fees and interest rates due to investors’ perception of higher risk. As a result, Boise taxpayers end up paying in annual increments more than twice the face value of the CCDC bonds.

Taxes on the increased value of private improvements in urban renewal districts normally pay for infrastructure to support new development. While other taxing districts must serve that new growth – providing schools, roads, police and fire protection – they don’t get any of the new taxes. Those districts’ taxpayers pick up the tab.

Gary E. Richardson, Boise

Legislature

Legislators, please help me understand why you were unable to provide a hearing for a bipartisan bill removing the $100,000 cap on the homeowners’ exemption and returning the indexing of the exemption to the Idaho Housing Price Index. Please don’t disrespect me by saying it was too late in the session, as you had time to act on other bills.

You were able to pass two bills restricting the qualifications for a voter initiative. Why did you pass these bills when many felt otherwise?

You were able to pass a $10+ million appropriation (taxpayers’ money) to move the full-time constitutional treasurer from the Capitol for more office space for the mere three-month session.

In 2007, Gov. Otter objected to the cost of more legislature office space. As a compromise, the governor’s full-time budget staff was moved from the Capitol. How about moving the legislative staff? Wouldn’t that cost considerably less than $10+ million? Need access to staff? With technology and a walk, wouldn’t you have that access?

Finally, who benefits from passing restrictions on voters initiatives and increasing legislative office space? Could this be the start of a move toward a full-time legislature?

Vicki Tokita, Boise

Legislature

In the Statesman editorial on the “Idaho Legislature … falling short in its duty to protect children” (March 24), a major contributing factor was overlooked.

By forcing 13-year-old girls to marry, by opposing sex education, by allowing children not to be vaccinated and, separately, by arming 18-year-olds, Idaho Republicans are following the white nationalist playbook.

White supremacists want women totally subservient to men, hence the need to keep them uneducated, pregnant and in the kitchen. Republicans have wittingly or unwittingly signed on to this thuggish agenda under the banner of Donald Trump because they fear losing power to the coming electoral demographic shift to women and minorities.

The only way to preserve the republic is to not vote for Republicans – and watch out for armed 18-year-olds wearing brown shirts.

As the vileness of the Republican Party becomes ever more apparent, let us join together to fight it under Voltaire’s rallying cry: Ecrasez l’infame (“crush the vile thing”).

Gary L. Bennett, Boise

Betsy DeVos and Republicans

Poor billionaire Betsy DeVos. Two days after she valiantly defended the elimination of all federal funding for the Special Olympics against a storm of criticism, President Trump pulled the rug out from under her by reversing the decision. But what caught my eye in this drama was her unconscious disclosure of the Republican long-term strategy to eliminate a lot more than Special Olympics funding. (Social Security and Medicare, perhaps?) She was quoted as declaring: “Given our current budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program.” In light of the recently enacted giveaway to the very rich (like her) through “tax reform,” this attitude borders on the obscene. Of course, tremendous tax reductions for the rich create difficult “budget realities,” contrary to Republican promises that they would pay for themselves. I keep wondering when my fellow citizens will wake up to this Republican charade.

Robert E. Gilbert, Sun Valley

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