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It's time for legislators to make up for Otter's lack of leadership

It's time for legislators to make up for Otter's lack of leadership

Fred Birnbaum
January 20, 2015
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January 20, 2015

There is an old saying in Washington, D.C., “The president proposes and Congress disposes.” What it means in simple terms is that the legislature is a co-equal branch of government at the federal level. Since the same structure exists in Idaho, the Legislature should consider the wisdom in those words.

Gov. Butch Otter, in his State of the State address, proposed a 6.5 percent general fund increase by the applying the same old tired formula to governing: throw more money at the existing structure of government. No discussion of reform or review of existing programs, scant mention of how free market solutions could improve the lives of Idaho families and cold water on ideas like using general funds for transportation funding.

If you believe that these sorts of addresses don’t matter you ought to contrast Otter’s vision with those of other Republican governors.

Republican Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner of Illinois had this to say: “Taxpayers’ money belongs to them; not the government. We have a moral obligation to minimize how much we take and to ensure what we do take is spent efficiently and effectively.”

Republican Gov.-elect Pete Ricketts of Nebraska, a state with many similarities to Idaho, had the following to say:

However, there’s a major barrier to growing jobs in our state: Nebraska’s high taxes. We must cut taxes. Whether you’re a homeowner, farmer, rancher, or small business owner, everyone feels the burden of high taxes. Nebraskans from Alliance to Syracuse have expressed their strong interest in finding a pathway to property tax relief. That is my number one priority this year. At the same time, we must act responsibly. It is our constitutional duty to balance our budget while funding the priorities that the people of Nebraska care about most. Next, we must reduce regulatory burdens. Whether it’s a livestock producer in Bridgeport or a manufacturer in Deshler, business owners bear the burden of oppressive over regulation. As governor, I will stand up to the excessive regulation forced on us by Washington. At the state level, I will work to ensure our regulatory process is fair, transparent, and more efficient.

Since Otter is not offering this kind of leadership, it is up to legislators, legislative leaders and interested citizens to push back with the view that they represent Idahoans who want a smaller, less intrusive, and more growth-oriented government than Idaho’s executive branch offers.

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