Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman offered his response to Gov. Brad Little’s 2023 State of the State address:
“The governor chose style over substance, more government over fiscal restraint. It’s an absolute disaster of a policy blueprint and, if followed, will lead the state further down the path of greater government dependency, socialism, and unfettered transgenderism.
“My advice to lawmakers is to ignore everything Gov. Little said. Every last word. This was arguably the worst speech I’ve ever heard an Idaho governor give. The address, filled with platitudes about conservative governance, serves only to give cover to Little’s Big Government agenda, at great cost to parents, students, and a free society.
“Nowhere did Little mention or express an interest in doing anything about the cultural and economic crisis our state and nation faces:
- Wokeism and leftist propaganda in the government education system, including here in Idaho, that are brainwashing and confusing impressionable students.
- Freeing students from failing government-run schools by offering real education freedom that empowers families by allowing them to choose school options that best suit their children.
- An out-of-control government healthcare program that now serves about 1 in 4 Idahoans, bringing the state close to complete dependence on Washington, D.C.
- Taxpayer funding of gender transition therapy for Medicaid recipients.
- Continued leftist indoctrination on Idaho’s college and university campuses.
“Little made it a point in his address to knock California Gov. Gavin Newsom. But Little’s speech was more or less a governing roadmap more favorable to folks who like Newsom than conservative heroes like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“The governor’s budget calls for hundreds of new employees, unprecedented raises for bureaucrats, corporate cronyism, and millions of dollars in new programs and spending. It’s unaffordable, not conservative, and bad for the people of Idaho.
“The token tax relief the governor is offering in his budget — $120 million while the government enjoys a $1.5 billion budget surplus — is a slap in the face of hardworking Idahoans who are overtaxed and overburdened by government-driven inflationary forces. The governor’s budget also includes an unprecedented $2.7 billion in emergency spending for the budget year that ends June 30.
“In short, this Legislature and conservative residents of the state have their work cut out for them. Little’s speech is not a starting point for any meaningful steps forward. The Idaho Freedom Foundation will work tirelessly to get the policy reforms, policy focuses, and tax relief that Idahoans deserve, something that Little failed to offer in his proposals for the 2023 Legislature.”