THE LATEST


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Idaho Education Association’s real agenda: money and power

By Wayne Hoffman | President

My friend and former newspaper colleague, Chuck Malloy, recently wrote an article about the Idaho Education Association that continues an Idaho media tradition of miscategorizing the IEA’s place in the state’s policy arena. The chief problem with Malloy’s commentary is the same one that plagues the Idaho news media generally: Writes cover the IEA as though its mission is to improve public education. Accordingly, reporters often seek the organization’s thoughts on education, as though it has an impartial, scholarly viewpoint to offer. 

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Finally, people know: Urban renewal adds to property tax pain

By Wayne Hoffman | President

Maybe, just maybe, people are starting to recognize that urban renewal plays a significant part in making it unaffordable for Idahoans to keep their homes.

At least that’s my take from having watched Canyon County elected officials in open revolt regarding a plan to start another urban renewal project. They verbalized concern it would compound problems for property taxpayers. My, how far we’ve come.

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Giving thanks this Thanksgiving, but without a drink

By Wayne Hoffman | President

From a freedom-loving perspective, there’s much to be thankful for this year. Idaho now has a governor, Brad Little, interested in regulatory reform and spending discipline. Lawmakers are talking about real tax relief, including reductions in property taxes and the elimination of the state sales tax on groceries. We’re likely to see several tax-reduction proposals offered in the 2020 legislative session. Hooray!

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Help Idaho’s colleges and students by freezing tuition

By Wayne Hoffman | President

Gov. Brad Little’s preemptive “spending reset,” to rein in state spending before the next economic downturn, is a good start to help Idaho taxpayers who could use a break from a decade of a growing state government. But other taxpayers—Idaho’s increasingly put-upon college and university students—also need relief. That relief can be achieved if Little and lawmakers decide this winter to impose a freeze on college tuition and fees.

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Give Gov. Little thanks for defending taxpayers by containing budget

By Wayne Hoffman | President

Please take a moment to cheer Gov. Brad Little and his administration for proactively getting Idaho’s fiscal house in order ahead of a potential economic downturn. Spending restraint is a tough job that too few elected officials choose to do.

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Cut spending to provide property tax relief

By Fred Birnbaum | Vice President

A property tax revolt is brewing in Idaho, and it is easy to understand why. Homeowners are seeing property taxes increase faster than their incomes and that is not sustainable. Seniors, picture a moving truck pulling up to your house; those on fixed incomes can’t — won’t be able to — keep up with upward spiraling tax increases.

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Test scores continue to flounder while Ybarra celebrates ‘skinniest kid at fat camp’

By Wayne Hoffman | President

If American public schools are ever going to improve, education officials need to be honest about where students are succeeding and where they aren’t. That’s mainly unsolicited advice for Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, who found mostly joy and silver linings in the newest scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The truth is much more complicated, and much darker, than Ybarra’s Oct. 30 two-page news release suggests.  

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Diversity & discernment: lessons from the gridiron

By Dr. John M. Livingston | Medical Policy Adviser

I grew up in Ohio in the 1960s. In Ohio and western Pennsylvania, football was, and remains today, a religion. I was lucky enough in the late ‘60s and early ‘70’s to play for two state championship high school football teams and one NCAA Division III championship football team. My high school team, Upper Arlington, was completely segregated. My college team, Wittenburg University, was one of the first to be completely integrated.

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Get rid of the property tax or at least make changes to lower the burden

By Wayne Hoffman | President

If the living embodiments of the property tax and the income tax were dangling from the edge of a cliff and I had to save one, my sweaty hand wouldn’t hesitate to release its grip and allow the property tax to fall to its grisly death in the policy abyss below. 

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Boise media, incumbent candidates fail to tackle the No. 1 problem: property taxes

By Wayne Hoffman | President

If you’re a candidate for public office and you’re not talking about property taxes, what’s wrong with you? Especially in the state’s largest city, being a candidate for mayor in Boise must naturally necessitate answering questions about the rapidity and unsustainability of annual property tax increases. 

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Idaho welcomes diversity, but not the social justice version of it

By Wayne Hoffman | President

About a hundred descendants of David and Yetta Cohen gathered for a family reunion in Georgia earlier this summer. Over the span of a few days, my aunts, uncles, and cousins, mostly Jews who live on the east coast, questioned me about Idaho, the state I’ve called home for nearly 25 years. Their curiosities were mostly about, in no particular order: potatoes, the blue football field, and my distance from Des Moines. Because Iowa. No one asked about Idaho’s “history” as a home for racists, or whether my big nose or my occasional use of Yiddish makes me a target for anything.

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Sanders survives health scare thanks to American medical care

By Dr. John M. Livingston | Medical Policy Adviser

As a retired surgeon, I was sorry to hear that U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders had an ischemic event—crescendo angina or a heart attack—while campaigning in Las Vegas. I know firsthand that it’s probably a relief to Sanders, his friends, family, and supporters he was being treated at a state-of-the-art medical center. I know many of the physicians and surgeons that practice at the Las Vegas hospital where Sanders underwent surgery.

He is a very lucky man.  

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Trillhaase’s head fake avoids the truth about career ladder

By Fred Birnbaum | Vice President

I have to hand it to the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s longtime foe, Marty Trillhaase. The liberal columnist is a master of the head fake.

Let’s roll back the tape to reveal Trillhaase’s almost-brilliant deception, a sly trick he used to dodge a serious discussion that the Idaho Freedom Foundation wants to have about the state’s education system.

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Medical cannabis proposal flunks the freedom test

By Wayne Hoffman | President

Every day, sickly Idahoans—sufferers of depression, elderly with arthritis, cancer patients who can’t keep their food down, epileptic kids—risk trips across the state line to get the one thing that helps them treat their symptoms. But, alas, the medical marijuana initiative being shopped by petition signature-gatherers isn’t a much better option than politicians sitting on their hands and doing nothing.

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Gov. Little is correct: Inmate’s surgery would cost taxpayers

By Wayne Hoffman | President

If you are easily triggered, this column may not be for you. Momentarily, I will defend Gov. Brad Little’s appeal of a court ruling that has the media racing to the side of an Idaho prison inmate and his elective surgery.

You’ve been warned.

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Boise State to faculty and staff: Come learn how white people are racists

By Wayne Hoffman | President Boise State University is now inviting its faculty and staff to attend a series of trainings on “white privilege” from an author who believes all white people are latent racists. The program consists of seven sessions, for which attendees earn credit as part of the school’s “diversity” program.

The program’s curriculum is based on Robin DiAngelo’s book, “What Does It Mean to Be White?: Developing White Racial Literacy.”

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Release: Boise City Hall squanders $144 million, property taxes continue to skyrocket

This week, the Idaho Freedom Foundation released a report that details more than $144 million in wasteful spending by Boise city officials. Said wasteful spending leads to high property taxes for residents and businesses.

The 208-page report, “Are you kidding me, Boise?”, reveals how city officials waste tax dollars on myriad pet projects

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Public hearings show continued public disdain for Common Core

By Wayne Hoffman | President

The Idaho State Board of Education held hearings in August about Common Core education standards. Comments made by attendees prove that parents, students, business owners, and even some educators are not entirely supportive of the standards that Idaho adopted almost a decade ago.

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Nampa, Moscow part ways on property tax increases

By Wayne Hoffman | President

The Tin Ear of the Year award has to, without question, go to the Moscow City Council, for having voted recently to force a massive tax increase on the property owners of that town in the middle of an equally massive debate about how to keep Idaho’s rising property taxes from pricing people out of their homes.

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Rising pension costs contribute to higher property taxes

By Wayne Hoffman | President

Idahoans fed up with skyrocketing property taxes hope state lawmakers will step in and offer relief. But raising the homeowner’s exemption, which reduces the taxable value of owner-occupied residences, is not the answer and never has been. Raising the exemption only shifts the rising tax burden from homeowners to other types of properties, including commercial real estate and rentals. This has a downstream impact on the cost of food, clothing, housing, cars, and so on.

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