Republican leadership threw an emergency press conference Friday after passing their constitutional amendment out of committee. They claim their amendment is all about making it harder to raise taxes. They say anyone opposing it just wants to raise taxes.
Let's be clear, if this amendment passes it will make it harder for local people to raise their own taxes for things like public transportation which they urgently need (which typically the legislature doesn't value and won't fund.) Where is our faith in local people or local governments with this constitutional amendment. We are holding local governments up to a bar we do not hold ourselves to. Do we have to be elected by a 2/3 vote to vote on tax issues? Not as I recall.
And let's be a little more clear, House Republican leaders Mike Moyle and Ken Roberts who are quoted as caring about keeping Idahoans taxes low are the same two who are behind shifting almost $100 million in business taxes onto families and individuals by repealing the $120 million personal property tax. It should be hard to raise taxes they say? How about shifting taxes from one group of payers to another? Is that some how OK? Maybe we need to let the people of Idaho vote on that. Vote and see if they believe the idea that the benefits of the multi million tax cut for Simplot and Canadian mining companies will trickle back down to the families of Idaho who will soon pay for this huge business tax.
Of course if we did take a vote on this one on a ballot in November it would probably end up being written so that it would sound like the Jim Risch tax shift did, like motherhood and apple pie. Like something designed to save education when it simply took locally controlled school dollars and made schools come begging to the legislature for every dime instead. It cut taxes for vacation homeowners and big business while raising the sales tax, which is mostly paid by families. Can you call that protecting tax payers from tax increases? I don't think so.
I'm tired. But we have many miles to go before we sleep. The session is far from over. Every one is just gearing up for elections with a fresh batch of wholesome "we are only saving you from yourselves" rhetoric. The house PR guy is running over time. It seems to be time for the spin doctors to go to work.