Last week, Jim Delmore wrote a letter to the editor explaining that he doesn’t understand the Idaho Freedom Foundation’s (IFF) mission or its work on policy issues. He noted being especially concerned with IFF’s work to lower taxes for everyone and speculated that IFF would like to privatize education. I would like to take this opportunity to clear up some of Delmore’s concerns.
IFF is a non-partisan, educational research institute and government watchdog organization dedicated to improving the lives of Idahoans by promoting conservative solutions, holding public servants accountable, exposing government waste and corruption, and promoting policies that lessen Idaho's fiscal dependence on Washington, D.C.. IFF focuses primarily on fiscal and regulatory issues and it analyzes major legislation during each legislative session using the Idaho Freedom Index.
However, the Idaho Freedom Index does not analyze appropriation bills. Therefore, Delmore is wrong in stating IFF “targeted any legislator who voted for an appropriation bill.” To be clear, IFF does not target legislators. Any statements IFF makes are in relation to how a legislator votes on specific legislation.
IFF’s work on tax issues has been transparent. Delmore is correct: IFF would like to see taxes lowered for families and small businesses. IFF believes tax policy should be fair and predictable. Specifically, Delmore brought up our work on the fuel-tax increase. All of IFF’s education work on gas-tax policy makes clear there is a purpose for a fuel tax and maintaining highways is a proper function of government.
However, it is imperative to acknowledge tax policy does not exist in an silo. If legislators would have controlled state general fund spending, the state would have been able to fund things like roads and other capital expenditures without taking more out of the pockets of families.
Finally, Delmore’s comments concerning IFF’s education work are, simply put, wrong. IFF collaborated with Rep. Wendy Horman on an innovative education bill that would have allowed low-performing public schools to morph into public charter schools, and would have provided low-performing schools additional flexibility to educate their unique populations. IFF did nothing but applaud Horman’s work on the legislation. Regarding education spending, IFF believes in funding the child and creating more parental control rather than paying for a system that is not giving children the tools they need to succeed.
The Idaho Freedom Foundation prides itself on advocating for civil discourse and and the free exchange of ideas. I encourage anyone who may have questions about the Idaho Freedom Foundation, to contact me in the Idaho Falls office at 208-258-2280 or by email at [email protected]