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Don’t get carried away with ‘Let the Good Times Roll’

Don’t get carried away with ‘Let the Good Times Roll’

Wayne Hoffman
March 3, 2014
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March 3, 2014

The great thing about having been around awhile is that you get to understand the habits of lawmakers during good times and bad.

During bad times, lawmakers struggle to pay for government services. They prioritize. They remove dead wood. They consider alternatives.

During "good times," they spend. They spend a lot. They often overspend. This is where we are today.

The economy in Idaho, as in other states, has picked up a bit. I wouldn't say that the glory days, the period after the 2003 recession and before the economic downturn of 2008, are back. In fact, in many respects, Obama administration policies are prolonging the "bad times." That doesn't stop lawmakers from confusing the two.

As a result, Idaho is on the brink of a spending spree. Minus the tricks and budget gimmicks, our general fund spending may even exceed $3 billion for the first time. And I'll be more than happy to help identify which legislators contributed to that milestone.

Furthermore, the state continues the policy of "see federal money, get federal money." Our reliance on federal money is not sustainable.

As we arrive at Mardi Gras, it is a bit unfortunate that lawmakers think the theme of this year's legislative session is Laissez les bons temps rouler. French Cajun, for “Let the good times roll,” which is fine for New Orleans this week, not so fine with for Idaho taxpayers.

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