By Russ Fulcher | Idaho Freedom Foundation Sitting deep in the bowels of the Idaho Capitol is a bill that,…
By Russ Fulcher | Idaho Freedom Foundation Sitting deep in the bowels of the Idaho Capitol is a bill that,…
Parents have rights, by golly, and state lawmakers are working tirelessly to uphold those rights. Well, sort of. Truthfully, state…
Two national pundits weighed in this week on a loophole in Idaho code that allows state lawmakers to add thousands…
Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman spoke against new tanning regulation during a House committee hearing Wednesday. During the hearing,…
The pattern is a familiar one: An occupation, business, or industry gains some prominence, gets some scale and then looks…
Idaho Freedom Foundation Vice President Fred Birnbaum spoke against new government regulations for sign language interpreters during a House Health…
Wayne Hoffman is one of Idaho’s leading experts on public policy, the Idaho Legislature and the practice of journalism.
Hoffman has spent 25 years writing about government and politicians. He writes a weekly column, found in newspapers and on websites throughout Idaho, and is often invited to speak on complex issues including taxation, health care, free markets and education.
Throughout his years in the news business, Wayne won numerous awards for investigative and political journalism. During his years of covering the state legislature, governor’s office and state agencies, Wayne often exposed government waste, failed government programs and politicians whose voting records were inconsistent with their rhetoric.
After leaving the news business in 2005, Wayne became the special assistant to the director of the state Department of Agriculture. In 2006, he managed the communications efforts of several successful political campaigns and became the communications director for Congressman Bill Sali. Wayne lives in Nampa with his two children.
Wayne has been at the helm of Idaho Freedom Foundation since the organization launched in January 2009.
Fred Birnbaum has joined the Idaho Freedom Foundation as vice president and chief operating officer after working 25 years in the packaging industry.
Most recently he served as director of business and financial analysis for Packaging Corporation of America (formerly Boise Inc.) and has lived in Boise for 14 years. His experience in industry includes roles in finance, operations, project management and factory management.
Fred served in the U.S. Army as a communication staff officer and platoon leader and worked briefly on Capitol Hill following his Army career.
He received his master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Dustin Hurst serves as the News Director for the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He attended college at North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene and Boise State University in Boise. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication, with a minor in Political Science.
Before joining IdahoReporter.com, Dustin worked as a social media coordinator and reporter for Watchdog.org, a nationally recognized good journalism organization. His work there has been featured or recognized by Fox News, Human Events, Reason.com, TownHall.com, Public Sector Inc. HotAir and The Daily Caller, among others.
Former presidential candidate Steve Forbes also tweeted one of Dustin’s stories.
Dustin lives in Middleton with his beautiful wife and two wonderful kids.
Parrish Miller grew up and was home-schooled outside of Salem, Oregon. He relocated to Boise, Idaho, from Wyoming in the summer of 2006. He has always had a keen interest in history, government and economics and has been very active in politics and the political process since 2008. He has been involved in the Tea Party and other grassroots organizations since their inception and has served as a Delegate from Ada County to the Idaho Republican State Convention in 2010 and as an Alternate in 2012 and 2014. He has also served as a Director on the Boards of the US Patriot Club and the Ada County Tea Party (formerly known as Tea Party Boise) and has studied political science at Boise State University.
Maureen Hatfield comes to IFF from a shift in professions, but one she feels will serve her well. With a medical education background and more than 25 years in the medical field, that helping commitment will assist her in focusing on a core value of IFF: Restore Liberty and Improve Lives. Maureen also has a private business owner background as owner of a ranch and guest cabins in the McCall, Idaho, area. She also used that time to home-school her four children. Maureen is part of IFF’s Development Department, coordinating events and reaching out to folks who don’t yet know about the IFF mission. Her goal is to help build the organization to its full potential. Her favorite place is the Tuamoto Islands, part of French Polynesia. Maureen is active in her church and enjoys reading, cooking and outdoor fun.
Matt Keenan grew up and was educated in Boise, Idaho, including studying political science at Boise State University. He has assisted with several different political races throughout the state including two congressional campaigns.
Matt has an interest and background in video production. He has assisted nonprofits with video needs from small to large scale events. He has two sessions of video experience at the Idaho Legislature representing IdahoReporter.com and now assists with IFF’s communication department.
Matt resides in Boise and enjoys hunting, hiking and fishing. He won’t complain if he ends up on a lake for the day on a boat.
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.
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 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.
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 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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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