The spontaneous non-government order of Halloween

How much money is spent on Halloween? Just in the U.S., candy sales alone will reach $2.5 billion (that’s “billion” with a “B”), according to the National Confectioners Association. Costumes will bring in even more with $350 million in spending dedicated to costumes for pets. When combined with decorations and cards, Halloween spending is anticipated to be $7.4 billion in 2014, according to the National Retail Federation. More than half of Americans will collectively spend billions of dollars to celebrate a holiday that isn’t even considered a federal holiday by the government. How could so many people spend so many
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Opinion: IFF’s Call to Eliminate Grocery Tax Demonstrates Responsible Fiscal Policy

IFF is renewing its call for eliminating the grocery tax.  I believe this is responsible tax policy, given the lackluster wage growth we’ve seen in Idaho the past several years.  While recent reporting shows Idaho’s personal income grew faster than any other state – hitting $36,146 in 2013 – Idaho still ranks No. 47 out of 50.  Worse still, median income was $27,932 in 2013.  That means 50 percent of adults were earning less than $27,932.  The fact that the other 50 percent were earning more than $27,932 makes little difference, given the small amount. One of the flaws with the
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Really? … $1.2 million for a bathroom, bedroom, shower and earthquake upgrades

At first glance, the fire department bond measure in Boise appears to have a predictable premise, funding a number of projects to update and upgrade the city’s fire department infrastructure with low-cost municipal debt. Five major projects are detailed for a total cost of $17 million, with the largest at $6.8 million to a build a new “live fire” training facility. We are also told that spending the money will save taxpayers money because the borrowing costs, now, are less than the costs of construction over several years, when the inflation component is added. The notion is that Boise can
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‘Criminal frequenting’ is a trap door that should be sealed shut

One crime that has held my ire is “criminal frequenting.” Most traditional crimes in the Idaho Code are appropriately contained in Title 18, under the heading “Crimes and Punishments.” “Criminal frequenting,” however, is found in Title 37, Chapter 27, along with many other crimes, under “Uniform Controlled Substances.” According to I.C. 37-2732(d): “It shall be unlawful for any person to be present at or on premises of any place where he knows illegal controlled substances are being manufactured or cultivated, or are being held for distribution, transportation, delivery, administration, use, or to be given away. A violation of this section
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Constitutional amendment cements our system of checks and balances

When the EPA announced this summer that it was putting in place regulations that would stretch its authority over wide swaths of private property, much of the country was in an uproar. The EPA said that dry streambeds that only occasionally flow with water, small ponds and watering holes should be regulated as “navigable waters of the U.S.,” subjecting them to the Clean Water Act. Imaginative and outrageous as these regulations are, Congress is unable to tell the EPA to pound sand. Regulations passed by federal agencies—from the EPA to the IRS to the Department of Health and Human Services—cannot
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