The gang at the Idaho Freedom Foundation was very good in 2019, and knowing that we’re not the easiest to shop for, we’ve made a list of gifts that help celebrate the expansion of freedom, along with an explanation. Please let us know if you have any questions.
A NEW CONVERTIBLE: We’re not concerned about the make or model, but red, white and blue are obvious colors, though the boss is partial to purple. When the Legislature let all of Idaho’s regulations expire this summer, Gov. Brad Little used it as an opportunity to lead a complete overhaul of the state rulebook. The result? Many regulations were eliminated or streamlined, and Idaho now counts itself as the least regulated place in the country. The unwinding of the administrative state is like a shiny convertible in the driveway. It’s bound to make the neighbors jealous.
A CRUISE VACATION: 2019 might just go down as the year Boise escaped the fate of becoming the next Portland or Seattle. Voters rejected Mayor David Bieter’s proposals for a fancy new library and sports stadium. And they rejected Bieter, whose dismissive response to complaints about the city’s out-of-control spending and resulting property tax increases played a part in his ouster. The city’s incoming mayor, Lauren McLean, likely realizes that a coalition of liberal Bieter defectors and Trump-Little supporters helped her to victory. That fact should steer the city toward better waters, hence the cruise vacation. *Hint* Carnival Cruise Line has a ship that shares our name!
AN ADORABLE PUPPY: Preferably from a rescue shelter, because we don’t like critters in cages. In 2019, people in Idaho started to have the right conversations about education in their state. Three proposals to preserve the status quo in public schools failed in the Legislature. Idahoans petitioned the State Board of Education to hold a series of badly needed hearings on Common Core education standards; at those meetings, the majority of speakers demanded change. And lawmakers started asking really hard questions about the social justice programs operated by Idaho’s public college and universities. Even the university presidents have come a long way, agreeing with our call for a freeze on tuition and fees. Suddenly, the public education debate has a lot of new energy, like that pup that we’ll probably name “Liberty.”
DEEP TISSUE MASSAGE: It wasn’t so long ago that state officials were conducting an annual exercise in adding new licensing requirements for anyone wanting to hold certain jobs. This year, lawmakers got serious about easing restrictions on licensed occupations, passing some reforms in the last legislative session and planning bigger changes for 2020. A massage feels pretty good, but it won’t be as good as the feeling we get from helping pass policies that help people to obtain meaningful employment by freeing onerous restrictions.
BOOKS: Earlier in the year, Gov. Little signed the bill repealing the law that let legislators benefit from a loophole in state pension law. That loophole allowed legislators to get a big spike in their pensions when they gave up their part-time legislative jobs for a full-time job in the state bureaucracy. It took many years to get rid of that pension perk, but now that it’s gone, we hope to the free time with a little extra reading.
Santa, just kidding about gifts. This letter is really just an excuse to brag on all the great things Idaho’s elected officials and voters accomplished this year, and there’s way more than I have time to share. How about you put a little something extra under their trees and in their stockings? Call it a little encouragement to keep the momentum going. Merry Christmas!