Freedom of religion and freedom of association under attack in Idaho

Donald and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene. When they politely declined to perform a marriage for a gay couple, they found themselves on the wrong side of the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance. Now they are facing 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine for each day they decline to perform the wedding. Although the city previously stated that “if you turn away a gay couple, refuse to provide services for them, then in theory you violated our code, and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation,” once confronted with the
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HJR2: Institutionalizes oversight into state constitution

Whether it passes or fails, HJR2, the constitutional amendment on the November ballot, will not change anything about the way state government operates. All it proposes to do is enshrine in the state constitution a practice that has been going on in Boise each winter for decades. That is the tedious but important job of reviewing the regulations passed by state agencies to execute the statutes passed by lawmakers. Sometimes lawmakers leave the intricate details of state government to state agencies to figure out. Lawmakers may, for example, vote to create a new tax incentive program, as they did last
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Sharing economy is free enterprise at its finest

The “sharing economy” is pretty much as simple as it sounds. People voluntarily providing services for other people, usually through websites or apps on smartphones. With this sharing economy comes a litany of “problems,” according to some people. I’ve heard the argument that services such as Uber, Lyft and AirBnB must be regulated to ensure the safety of users. Ridiculous. The sharing economy is nothing new. In fact, that whole free market thing that we talk about so much? Yeah, that’s what a sharing economy boils down to: People providing services for other people. People inventing products to address certain
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Who would have believed it … candidates talking about pension reform

Hooray for progress. For the first time that I can ever remember, candidates for statewide office are talking about Idaho’s pension system. What a blessing it is to finally have an election conversation about PERSI, the costly system that provides for Idaho government employees in their retirement. Midvale Republican Lawerence Denney started the water boiling during a TV debate in which he said, “I think that it is a good idea to take all elected officials off the PERSI system.” Denney is a state representative running for secretary of state. Should Denney win, he’ll be able to parlay his pension
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Don’t confuse low tax collections with low tax rates

Does Idaho have a “revenue gap?” Are people in Idaho are undertaxed? If you measure Idaho’s state and local tax collections on a per capita basis, it has one of lowest rankings of all states. However, if you measure the state and local tax burden as a percent of state income, Idaho ranks No. 24. That tax burden falls on the people. Idaho’s top income tax rate of 7.4 percent is effective at a marginal taxable income of $10,567 for individuals. Three adjacent states, Washington, Nevada and Wyoming, have no individual income tax. Oregon is the only adjacent state with
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