Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Minimum wage, I-84 speeds, Alzheimer’s disease, property taxes

Minimum wage

Idaho is a wonderful place to live and raise a family, i.e., if you can afford it. Sadly, wages are low, over 15% of Idahoans live in poverty and 39.6% work for under $12 per hour, the nation’s worst. A minimum wage stuck at $7.25 per hour with prices continually rising, especially housing costs, makes it almost impossible for many of our neighbors to avoid poverty. This dilemma also forces some of our Idaho-born youth to leave their home state for better-paying jobs. Yet, our legislature refused to even consider bills to raise minimum wages in 2018 and 2019. That’s why Idahoans for a Fair Wage, Inc. (IFFW) has launched a citizens ballot initiative to incrementally raise Idaho’s minimum wage to $12 over four years. Several states including many of our neighbors like Oregon, Washington, California and Montana have already raised their minimum wage with positive results to their economy and little to no impact on job growth or prices due to the increases. For more information, check our website fairwageid.org and keep your eyes open for our volunteers collecting petition signatures at local events and public places across the state. Idahoans deserve a raise.

Tex Beauchamp, Meridian

I-84 speed safety

There are too many accidents on I-84 in the Treasure Valley. Many are not due to weather or road conditions. What I see as the most likely cause is drivers not leaving adequate space between vehicles. At sixty mph a car travels 5,280 feet in one minute, or 88 feet in one second. Assuming an average vehicle length of 15 feet (excluding 18 wheelers), if you leave 3 car lengths as a buffer, you have about half a second to react if the driver in front of you hits the brakes. Using the old “one thousand one” timing for one second, you can say “one thous” in half a second. But, if you only allow one car length, you don’t have time to say “one,” only the sound “wh,” as in “what the”... which you can finish in the hospital when you wake up. If you wake up.

Calvin Vincent Weaver, Boise

Alzheimer’s disease

There are more than 26,000 Idahoans living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 85,000 family and friends acting as unpaid caregivers. Recently, Idahoans joined more than 1,200 attendees at the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC. There, we talked to Congress about the burden that Alzheimer’s places on our state.

This advocacy is important to me because of my own friends and family that have suffered from this disease. I know the heavy cost for families caring for their loved ones.

Legislators were asked to increase funding for Alzheimer’s disease research at the National Institutes of Health, as well as fund implementation of the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for the Alzheimer’s Act, which Congress passed into law last year. Shockingly only 1% of Medicare beneficiaries with dementia have received a personal care plan available to them. Advocates asked members of Congress to cosponsor the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, new legislation that will give doctors information about how to develop a care plan for each patient.

Please join me in urging Congressman Russ Fulcher and Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch to invest in policies that address Alzheimer’s disease as the national public health crisis it is.

David Wilson, Esq. Chair – Leadership Council Greater Idaho Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Boise

Property tax

Property taxes are going up – way up – an average of 11.8% this year. Idahoans are being priced out of our homes as the migration from richer states continues. Compare the double-digit increases in property taxes to the increases seen in Idaho pay checks – wait – what? The Real Median Household income, which is consistently $8k-$10k below the national average, took a dive in 2006 and 13 years later, is just getting back to the SAME level, while property taxes have gone up year over year.

To make it palatable, tax-rates.org states that for a property with a value of $171,000 (0.69%) of assessed fair market value taxes will be $1,188. In Ada County, the median house is above $300,000, not the $247,825 in the example, so add $250 or more. In watching new homes where there was farmland, ask how long you can hold on in a place you love.

My plea is for reasonable tax increases that pace with wage increases in Idaho. If the voices of tax-payers is not enough, then politicians should consider that these new Idahoans coming from California, Washington, Oregon, and elsewhere may not all be Republican. Prop-13 anyone?

Kimberlie Smith, Boise