When a horde of people descends on a place, your instinct might be to build a wall. Sometimes those instincts are both right (“They’ll hurt our quality of life!”) and impractical (“It’ll cost a ton of money!”).
But for us, right now, building a wall just isn’t an option.
We’re gonna have to let ‘em in: 105 state politicians, some armed with ideas and drafts of legislation, seeking sanctuary in the Statehouse. Thus, let us pray that they do as little harm as possible while in session. To give guidance, I offer legislators this select wish list to keep them busy. Elected officials should:
- Contain spending and establish a competitive tax policy for the state. The budget-busting Butch Otter years are over. The economy is cooling down. It’s time to get serious about agency spending that is out of control and tax rates that remain the highest in the region.
- Reduce the occupational license requirements that keep people out of jobs. We will finally have a governor, Brad Little, who says he wants to lead reforms. He may be able to work with a Legislature that is starting to wake to the problems associated with excessive licensure and regulation.
- Continue to push back against special interests’ abuse of the public employee retirement system: get lobbying organizations off the state pension system; put the final nail in the coffin of the pension perk that legislators get for taking jobs in the state government; stop local governments and the judiciary from exploiting a loophole in the law that allows big, often secretive bonuses to be paid into employee pension accounts.
- Get on the forefront of blockchain innovations. Take the time to learn how cryptography can save taxpayers money, reduce regulations, and fix welfare.
Additionally, the Legislature and Gov.-elect Little should steer clear of policies that make people more dependent on government or advance special interest objectives at great cost to a free society. To that end, public servants should:
- Not take steps to expand Medicaid. On January 29, the Idaho Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding Proposition 2. Until the court rules, likely in late February or early March, there’s nothing the Legislature needs to do.
- Avoid crony government schemes that interfere with the economy and pick winners and losers, such as a proposal to give a tax credit to first-time homebuyers, which would be paid for by existing homeowners and renters.
- Say no to proposals that would make churches and other charities disclose their donors or discourage Idahoans from running for office. Campaign sunshine laws were never intended to punish organizations or citizens for engaging in free speech or becoming active in their government.
Above all else, the Legislature should commit itself toward the advancement of liberty. This is wholly possible. We got to see a pro-liberty agenda during the 2018 legislative session, which was punctuated by multiple pro-freedom reforms, including lower taxes, a reduction of license requirements, and the repeal of old, horrible big government laws.
No, we don’t need a wall around Boise. At least, not yet. Because from education choice to protecting property and individual rights, there’s still a lot of work to do to free Idahoans from an overreaching government. And, if that work doesn’t get done, well, deportation remains an option.