By Representative Heather Scott
The Idaho legislative session starts Monday, January 8. Every year it’s the same old story. On the first day of the session, the governor gives the State of the State for Idaho speech, sharing his plans for spending your tax dollars by addressing what he perceives is the best way to spend it. Favors to cronies and corporations are carefully packaged with clever names like the Idaho Launch Project and Re-Imagining the West Initiative, and there is always a push for shiny new programs to help kids read better, stop cigarette smoking, or some other program for the global good.
Citizens need to understand that many of the new and improved programs are really just an opportunity to grow the behemoth executive deep state, weaken the legislature, and justify taking more of your hard-earned dollars. Idaho now spends over $14-billion a year, double from what was spent just six years ago. Astonishingly, of that $14B, 72.1-percent goes to just two agencies-Health and Welfare and Education.
After Monday’s speech, the mainstream news media will go wild for the next several days, repeating the governor’s narrative so the uneducated voter will get it drilled into their heads. I imagine this process happens in every state, but in Idaho, it is most predictable because of the continued election of center-left governors.
Idaho is addicted to your federal tax dollars and thus keeps us chained to destructive Washington DC policies. Every “crisis” means a new federal grant and a new chain.
Six billion dollars (42-percent!) of Idaho’s budget comes from the federal government. Every dollar Idaho takes from the feds comes with chains. Cooperating with the federal bureaucrats, sometimes referred to as cooperative federalism, brings all kinds of garbage into Idaho, adding another link in the chain of bondage. From boys using girls’ bathrooms to common core and needle exchange programs, Idaho is forced to comply with more woke policies. These policies get enforced by bureaucrats onto regular people who just want to provide for their families, live their lives, and not be overburdened by more government.
Here are my predictions for the governor’s deep state dog whistle speech (sarcasm intended).
- More money for workforce development, the Launch Program, and housing projects, because the executive branch believes that a hand-out is superior to a hand-up. We will likely see projects that include benefits for large donor corporations and public/private partnerships. This is a great path for destroying capitalism completely.
- More money for healthcare access programs and expanding Medicaid expansion to more people, especially for mental health. Because socialized healthcare works so well in countries like China. And who knows, there may be another pandemic just around the corner.
- More money for education, because public schools and colleges are doing such a good job of teaching our children about equity, diversity, and inclusion while promoting gender confusion to first graders. This will somehow be disguised as school choice, but the unions will benefit most.
- More money for public safety preparation to prevent and protect against terrorist events, cyber-attacks, and other hazards. While this sounds noble, it will likely include infrastructure to consolidate personal data, collect and centralize information, and partner with the federal three-letter agencies. The DOJ, FBI, and DHS are doing such a “stellar” job at the border, and with the J6ers, why not team with them?
I am hoping to be wrong on this one, but after his attendance at the Western Governors Association conference on Decarbonizing the West, I predict there will be some talk about sustainability, green initiatives, clean energy, carbon storage, and regional water pacts. (Hopefully not climate-change!) These are all code language for control over Idaho resources and property rights. The Idaho Association of Corporations and Industry needs more than control, they need the water too!
Finally, he will likely talk about his two- to tfhree-percent budget cut across the board because the economy is slowing down and projected income coming from taxpayers is almost 14-percent below what was predicted. He will say we all need to tighten our belts and cut back because he wants to appear fiscally responsible. Remember, the call for cutbacks is happening due to years of growing government agencies. He will probably fail to discuss why he doesn’t want to cut the full 14-percent, and I doubt he will mention shifting the hidden taxpayer surplus of millions.
When will the executive branch and deep state start promoting real Idaho issues to help the average, everyday individual citizens? When will they talk about ways to promote competition and letting us keep more of our hard-earned money? When will they help small businesses over woke corporations?