This winter, more than one thousand pieces of legislation will be written in Boise. Here are just twelve ideas that many freedom-loving Idahoans believe merit consideration:
1. Cut taxes. There is no greater antidote to economic malaise. Lower taxes requires not a single extra government bureaucrat to administer. It merely requires faith in people and trust in capitalism and the free market.
2. Eliminate state agencies. There are too many agencies and too many programs. Stick to the proper role of government. Eliminate the fluff. Find ways to privatize services.
3. Get rid of federal programs. The state has long been sucked into a federal government vortex, accepting one federal government program after another, many of which are unconstitutional. Stop treating federal money like manna from heaven. It's taxpayer money. Just say no.
4. Increase government transparency. Make it so that every citizen can quickly and easily see how their tax dollars are being spent at the state and local levels, and so college students can see where all their fees are going.
5. Eliminate the cap on charter schools. Increase the options for students to receive the education that best fits their needs. Choice in the marketplace fosters competition. Competition results in better schools.
6. Change the local improvement district law. The Legislature never intended for cities like Boise to be able to launch a mass transit program on the backs of property owners without a vote of the people. Stop the end-run around taxpayers.
7. Put due process in the trespass statute. Last year, a law-abiding Idahoan was banned from visiting the state Legislature because a government bureaucrat decided he was an annoyance. This is wrong.
8. Stop the practice of allowing endless unelected substitute lawmakers to serve in the Idaho Legislature. Can anyone argue that it is good public policy for a lawmaker to be absent from the Legislature for one, two or three whole legislative sessions and still receive full pay and benefits? Anyone? I didn't think so.
9. End the abuse of urban renewal districts. Urban renewal districts, which are supposed to be used to clean up blighted, you know, "urban" areas, are being used to transfer taxpayer dollars to private use including building facades and gym memberships. When did a person's triceps become part of a city's infrastructure?
10. End the overcompensation of government employees. State employees receiving six-figure incomes, having most of their health insurance benefits paid for by taxpayers and receiving generous taxpayer-funded retirement benefits have hit the jackpot when it comes to compensation packages. It's unfair to Idaho taxpayers who pay the bill and whose median household incomes are around $46,000 a year.
11. End taxpayer support of political parties. While state agencies are being cut, why should state political parties continue to receive taxpayer funding? There's no justification for this practice.
12. Stop the federal government's unconstitutional mandates. Start with the socialized medicine mandate and block the federal government's proposed health insurance requirements. While you're at it, lift the state restrictions that block Idahoans from buying insurance where they choose to buy it.
Every legislative session, lawmakers express great concern for the maintenance of myriad government programs and the addition of new statutes. I'm not the first person to say it, but it would be nice if the proper role of government and freedom were higher on the list of priorities.