The city of Boise's latest proposed budget contains a number of spending items that should raise the eyebrows of anyone who advocates small government and fiscal restraint. The proposed budget also contains a number of proposals that are not the proper role of government in a free society.
The mayor's proposed budget allocates $200,000 for "Accessibility Improvements." Though the budget item lacks specificity, it does offer "examples of action items" that it says "could be supported by this funding" including "universal accessibility, gender-neutral and family-oriented restrooms (e.g., baby changing tables in men’s restrooms), improved wayfinding and signage in public facilities, and interpretation and translation services."
Why are these items needed? Are people actually requesting these things or are they just part of a social engineering campaign birthed within the city's upper management echelon?
The proposed budget also seeks $100,000 in seed funding for a "Day Care Plan for City Employees," Employees." The line item description concedes, "If this initiative were to be implemented, it is anticipated that additional funding would need to be identified." The $100,000 is simply for further study of the idea — a consultant's dream.
Another $100,000 proposal, titled "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" (DEI), would continue funding the "diversity, equity, and inclusion strategic framework," which the city began developing earlier this year. The proposal includes a somewhat aspirational yet incredibly vague description of this framework.
According to the mayor's proposed budget, the [DEI strategic] framework “will be built by a diverse group of city employees, conducting robust stakeholder interviews and evaluating existing city policies and processes. Upon completion of the framework, which will outline the DEI values and goals of the City, an action plan will be developed to address specific areas of opportunity and gaps."
Speaking of frameworks, there is also a "strategic planning framework" and another $100,000 request for Boise taxpayers to keep it afloat. This framework "has informed the organization on priorities and areas of focus, helping to align citywide collaboration towards these common goals."
Lots of words, little clarity.
The mayor wants $50,000 to establish a Human Rights Commission, which would continue "to focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues."
The purpose of establishing such a commission seems a bit murky, to say the least. "The Commission, if established, would be an advisory body working to eliminate oppression, discrimination, and bigotry, as well as promoting greater understanding, inclusion, and accessibility for everyone living or working in Boise."
There's more: The mayor also wants $100,000 for "Eviction Prevention," to help prevent private-sector evictions, unrelated to any city-owned housing. The money is slated to fund a "strategic initiative to reduce first-time homelessness, help renters and landlords avoid costly evictions, reduce barriers to maintaining permanent housing, and help to avoid households becoming homeless." The budget description continues, "Working with Our Path Home partner agencies, which provide housing support services and are positioned to intervene at eviction court or beforehand, the City’s Eviction Prevention Fund will provide resources to keep renters housed."
It appears that the city of Boise is now proposing to "intervene at eviction court" when private property owners attempt to recover their property from non-paying tenants.
Boise's draft budget is a catalog of expensive social justice schemes — many of them still in their infancy — designed to instigate a fundamental revision of the limited government principles of the region and the state. Packed with buzzwords such as "accessibility," "human rights," and "diversity, equity, and inclusion," the city's budget proposes a systematic and radical re-engineering of our culture in alignment with longstanding leftist objectives.
As taxpayers, we should be concerned. As conservative Idahoans, we should be outraged.