Subsidizing inefficiency

Idaho Power customers will soon be forced to subsidize an additional 461 megawatts of solar-generated power thanks to a federal law mandating that Idaho Power purchase power from less efficient “green” producers at the same rate it would cost the utility to build its own, new natural gas plant. This mandate requires power companies to pay what is known as the “avoided cost” rate. Despite the fact that solar power is both more expensive and less reliable (due to changes in the availability of sunlight), government is still mandating its use rather than more affordable and reliable hydroelectric, clean coal
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Another government handout

In case you missed it, IdahoReporter.com’s Dustin Hurst has an interesting story on how the government may spend $175,000 to bring 10 jobs to Jerome. Now, when I say “the government,” you might be thinking that’s something only the Obama administration could dream up. No, this is something coming out of the Otter administration. The state’s Department of Commerce is contemplating the money to lure a California company to southern Idaho. And if you’re doing the math, you will see this is $17,500 per job. A government board is supposed to make a final decision in early December. Idaho’s economy
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Here comes the NCAA anyway

On Monday it was announced that the NCAA basketball tournament (March Madness) would be returning to Boise in 2018. As a sports freak, I am overjoyed. As someone who works in the public policy arena, however, it’s a bit confusing. Why? Well, you see the topic of guns on campus has been hotly contested the last few years in Idaho. And one of the arguments used by those against allowing people to campus carry was that the NCAA would frown on Boise State and decide to pick another host town. Obviously that didn’t happen. But media at the time seized
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Medicaid expansion is the bad idea that just won’t go away

Imagine an 8-ounce glass of water on a kitchen counter. The glass is almost full. I could, as a matter of public policy, declare that the glass should hold 16 ounces of water. But my declaration won’t make the glass larger. It certainly won’t make the water tastier. And if I do decide to pour more water into the glass, the overage, unsurprisingly, would spill onto the floor. Similarly, expanding Medicaid won’t mean Idaho will miraculously have more doctors, more nurses, more practitioners of any kind. It won’t cure disease. It won’t even stop your runny nose. There are three
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Medicaid expansion has unintended consequences

Medicaid expansion in Idaho has been presented by its supporters as a “win-win” scenario with federal money replacing state funds and more people receiving medical coverage. Supporters of expansion can’t seem to bring themselves to consider that there might be unintended consequences. If we bring more able-bodied adults into the medical system, will current participants be displaced or have longer wait times as a result? Even if capacity is added, will it happen quickly enough to offset the added burden placed on the system? Who will pay for that added capacity? The federal money promised as part of the Medicaid
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