March 30, 2015

Eight Scenarios under House Bill 311

The projected impact of reducing Idaho’s income tax to a flat rate of 6.7 percent for those above a certain…

March 30, 2015

Impact Charts for House Bill 311

Scenario 1: A single individual age 25-50 who is not in college, disabled, or blind; and who drives 12,000 miles…

Wayne 5
March 30, 2015

Left-wing fiscal group ignores pro-taxpayer impact of new tax package

The recent analysis of the end-of-session tax proposal by the left-wing Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy ignored the positive, pro-taxpayer…

March 27, 2015

POLL: Rate Idaho’s legislative session

March 27, 2015

Income, grocery tax proposal deserves support

A proposal in the Idaho House of Representatives would do great things for Idaho’s economy and workers. House Bill 311…

March 25, 2015

Grocery tax repeal, income/fuel tax plan is a good compromise

A plan to repeal the grocery tax and lower the income tax in exchange for an increase in the gas…



Wayne Hoffman


Wayne Hoffman is one of Idaho’s leading experts on public policy, the Idaho Legislature and the practice of journalism. (more…)


Fred Birnbaum

Vice President

Fred Birnbaum has joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation as vice president and chief operating officer after working 25 years in the packaging industry. (more…)


Dustin Hurst

News Director

Dustin Hurst serves as the News Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. (more…)


Parrish Miller

Researcher and Policy Analyst

Parrish Miller has always had a keen interest in history, government and economics and has been very active in politics and the political process since 2008. (more…)


Maureen Hatfield


Maureen Hatfield comes to IFF from a shift in professions, but one she feels will serve her well. (more…)


Matthew Keenan

Communications Associate

Matt Keenan grew up and was educated in Boise, Idaho, including studying political science at Boise State University. (more…)


Bob Rathbone

Board Chairman

Bob is an investment advisor at Rathbone Warwick Investment Management, an RIA firm formed in 2014 with his partner, Ryan Warwick. Bob got his start in 1981 when he entered E.F. Hutton & Company’s account executive training program in Boise, Idaho. (more…)


Brent Regan

Board Vice Chairman

Brent Regan is the founder and president of Regan Designs, specializing in designing electromechanical products for medical, aerospace, defense, marine and automotive industries. (more…)


Heather Lauer

Board Secretary

Heather Lauer has an extensive background in issue advocacy and grassroots organizations. She is currently the owner of Villageous LLC, a consultancy specializing in strategic communications and public affairs campaign management. (more…)


Russ Fulcher

Board Member

Russ Fulcher is a fourth generation Idahoan from Meridian, Idaho, happily married to his wife Kara and proud father of three children: Meghan, Benjamin, and Nicole. (more…)


Loel Fenwick, MD

Board Member

Dr. Loel Fenwick invented the family-centered birthing room system and the birthing bed that are now standard in America and throughout the world. (more…)

Board of Scholars

Ronald M. Nate

Dr. Ronald M. Nate, Ph.D., is a professor of economics at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg. He received his bachelor of science in economics from the University of Utah, his master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Connecticut.

He has taught at BYU-Idaho since 2001 and was assistant professor of economics at Ohio University Eastern for three years before moving to Rexburg. His areas of emphasis are public choice economics, law and economics, quantitative methods and poverty economics. He is active in local community service including being a volunteer leader with the Boy Scouts of America and has chaired several political and civic committees.


Jim Payne

Dr. James L. Payne earned his doctorate in political science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1968, and has taught at Yale, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins and Texas A&M University. In 1985 he became an independent researcher and freelance writer and moved to Sandpoint. His articles have appeared in a number of national publications as diverse as the Wall Street Journal and Reader’s Digest.

His recent books include a study of why Congress keeps increasing spending (“The Culture of Spending”) and an examination of the burdens of the tax system (“Costly Returns”).

In 1996 he was awarded a Bradley Fellowship at the Heritage Foundation to study the welfare system. The resulting book, “Overcoming Welfare; Expecting More from the Poor—and from Ourselves,” was published in 1998.

In 2004 he published “A History of Force; Exploring the worldwide movement against habits of coercion, bloodshed, and mayhem.”

In 2010 he published “Six Political Illusions,” a primer on government that explains the fallacies that lead to big government.

He is also the author of four political satires about bizarre governments. All four fables are gathered into a single volume, “Take Me to Your Government,” to be published in September 2013.

Payne is also an avid sea kayaker and has written two books about his long-distance adventures.


Steve Ackerman

Steve Ackerman is a political and economic analyst with more than 15 years of college and university teaching experience including at Boise State University, College of Idaho, Northwood University, the University of California and California State campuses, and others.

He is a managing director with the competitive intelligence firm Apprize360. He is the former president of Provizio, also a competitive intelligence firm. More than 90 percent of Provizio’s clients were Fortune 100- and Fortune 500-level companies. Provizio and Apprize360 have brought several millions of dollars of revenue into Idaho.

Ackerman, a veteran of the Air Force, has also been an analyst with the President’s Commission on Military Base Closure and Realignment, with the Institute for Defense Analyses and with the International Republican Institute. He was also the editor of two global stock market and business journals.

Currently completing his Ph.D. in political economy with the Swiss Management Center University, Ackerman has a master’s degree from the University of Miami (Coral Gables) and has conducted research with Claremont Graduate University.

Ackerman has been a guest on CNBC-Europe, along with other television and radio programs around the country, including locally. He has been published regularly in several newspapers around the country, again as well as locally.


Peter Crabb

Dr. Peter Crabb holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Oregon and a master’s in business administration in finance from the University of Colorado.

His research in economics and finance is published in the “Journal of Business,” the “Journal of Microfinance,” and the “International Review of Economics and Finance,” among others. Dr. Crabb lives with his wife, Ann, and their four children in Canyon County, Idaho.


Scott Yenor

Scott Yenor is Professor of Political Science at Boise State University, where he teaches courses in political philosophy, American political thought, and constitutional law. He is also Director of the American Founding Initiative, which aims to bring ideas of limited government and classical liberty to today’s university. His publications include “Family Politics: The Idea of Marriage in Modern Political Thought” (Baylor, 2011), which concerns the way in which the ideas of contract and human autonomy have eclipsed the idea of marital unity in modern political thought. He is currently working on three books—one applies the idea of marital unity to today’s family policy; another concerns American Reconstruction; and the last is about the political thought of David Hume.

He lives in Meridian, Idaho with his wife Amy and five children—Jackson, Travis, Sarah, Paul, and Biscuit (Mark!). He enjoys basketball and reading (especially Russian novels and he has pledged to read only Russian novels until January 2017).

About IFF

The Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF) is a non-partisan educational research institute and government watchdog dedicated to improving the lives of Idahoans by promoting private free market solutions, holding public servants accountable, exposing government waste and corruption, and promoting policies that advance Idaho’s independence.


Vision Statement

We see an Idaho where individuals, families and businesses, can thrive and grow unlike anywhere else. We can see Idaho leading the country as a beacon of opportunity and prosperity. We believe nothing in human history has been more successful at improving the human condition as free markets, which is why we want to use our resources to educate policymakers, the media and the public on ideas that restore liberty and improve lives.


Mission Statement

Our goal is to hold public servants and government programs accountable, expose government waste and cronyism, reduce the state’s dependency on the federal government and inject fairness and predictability into the state’s tax system.


  • IFF’s Internal Revenue Service’s “determination letter” is found here.
  • Our income tax returns are available for 2009, 2010, 20112012 and 2013.


Reducing Federal Dependency

Idaho’s dependence on federal money has nearly doubled in 10 years. More than one-third of Idaho’s government is funded through the federal government. State policymakers are unprepared should Washington, D.C., withhold funds or stop spending money in support of state programs. Is it realistic to think that the folks in Washington can continue to spend and spend, tax and tax and there won’t be a day of reckoning? Common sense says otherwise. And when it comes, the fallout will not be kind to states like Idaho that have become dependent on an unreliable funding source. Because of the sheer volume of federal money entering the state system, the lack of oversight and opaque accounting, the state budget and too many programs are at risk. Idahoans—young and old, urban and rural—are vulnerable. No one is immune from a collapse. Our hope is to inform the public and policymakers regarding the risks and to develop policies that allow Idahoans to be prepared for the next funding crisis from Washington, D.C., see and understand all the federal dollars flowing into the state, measure their impact and take appropriate action.


Government Waste & Cronyism

Inexplicably, Idaho—which says it prides itself on conservative values—continues to move away from free markets, choosing instead to prop up the economy through government programs and interactions. Programs such as Project 60, the Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) and the Workforce Development Fund take taxpayer dollars and redistribute them in the interest of “economic development.” These programs have a track record of failure. Idaho needs less government involvement and more free market solutions. Attracting and expanding businesses to Idaho will not come through handouts or picking winners and losers, but with real solutions, such as taxes that are low, fair and predictable.

Idaho’s tax code is none of those. For example, the state taxes groceries and then gives the tax back as an income tax credit, removing millions of dollars from the economy each year. Idaho also taxes corporations, and Idahoans have to deal with property taxes that can go up as much as 40 percent in a single year.


Reforming & Improving Health Care

While elected officials in the state chose to implement Obamacare in creating a state insurance exchange, the battle against Big Government in health care is far from over. In fact, that was just the opening shot in a government plan to herd citizens under the big tent of government-managed health care. Care to ponder how that will work? The Veterans Administration mess should send a shiver through all of us. Now comes another battle of a government solution versus common sense: expansion of Medicaid. Expanding Medicaid isn’t sustainable and importantly doesn’t lead to better patient outcomes. It is a failing, costly program best avoided. However, there are a few measures that can be initiated to take back health care from the government:

  • Allow health insurance policies to be sold across state lines.
  • Unlimited tax-deductible contributions to health savings accounts.
  • Increased options and removed restrictions for private, quality charity as an alternative to the state’s catastrophic care fund and county indigent program.

Contact Us

Idaho Freedom Foundation, Inc
2404 Bank Drive, Ste 314
Boise, ID 83705
Phone: 208.258.2280
Fax: 208.965.8111

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