A tale of two school systems: COVID isn’t closing schools of choice in Idaho
As COVID-19 has spread across Idaho, public schools have repeatedly failed to serve families and students. Some 10 months into the pandemic, many public schools are still closed and have not done a good job in delivering online instruction to students. Poor virtual learning environments, leading to a decline in student performance, have led to many parents requesting a return to in-person instruction; some have removed their children from the public school system.
Massive cost overruns demand Medicaid expansion repeal
Before Medicaid coverage was extended to able-bodied adults in 2020, the program was already on an unsustainable growth path and just crossed $3 billion in annual expenditures, up from about $2 billion five years ago. Medicaid costs are squeezing out other budget priorities, like roads.
Letter to local governments regarding CARES Act funds
Idaho Freedom Foundation Local Government Policy Analyst Matt Tobeck explains that the state can use CARES Act money to offset public safety costs for Idaho cities and counties.
The impact of Espinoza v. Montana
Department of Revenue on education
choice opportunities in Idaho
Though 2020 might go down in history as the year in which fear of a virus shut down schools across the country, the greatest long-term impact of 2020 on education will likely have little to do with COVID-19. The U.S. Supreme Court’s Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue decision has the potential to restructure the American education system if education choice advocates are willing to make full use of their restored liberties.
Legal opinion on Coronavirus special session
On March 13, 2020, Governor Little formally proclaimed a “state of emergency” in connection with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A series of subsequent proclamations and executive orders predicated on this declaration instituted sweeping restrictions on the activities of citizens and private businesses in Idaho. Does the Idaho Constitution permit the Idaho Legislature to convene a special session to consider, and potentially enact legislation pertaining to, issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Help Idahoans: Use emergency powers to aid recovery from the economic shutdown
Idaho has begun its path back to normalcy by entering the second stage of Gov. Brad Little’s plan to reopen businesses. This plan is a lot more than just a map of what types of businesses can reopen when. It includes when public gatherings can resume, when travel can resume, when people can worship together again, and when other aspects of normal life can start.
Direct relief funds to all Idahoans: Devote federal relief funds to pay down property taxes
The state of Idaho has received $1.25 billion from the federal government, to offer relief for the impact of COVID-19. The state wants to give a portion of these funds to local governments, because taxing districts, such as cities, only qualify for direct federal relief funds if they have a population of 500,000 or more. No Idaho cities have such a population.
Help Idahoans help themselves: Immediate actions to get residents working again
Gov. Brad Little’s statewide shutdown of businesses has had a significant negative impact on Idaho’s workforce. The governor needs to do all he can to get Idahoans working again, as soon as possible.
He has made strides toward this goal over the past few weeks by reducing the licensing red tape on healthcare workers and healthcare facilities. But the governor has a wide range of further action he can take regarding occupational and business licensure. He needs to look far down the road as he contemplates his next steps in response to COVID-19, and take action that can lead to long-term fostering of the economy, instead of just a short-term response to one virus.
IFF objections to Gov. Little's stay-home order
Unfortunately, I write today to express deep disappointment in your three-week statewide stayat-home order, and urge you to make swift changes to the declaration so the COVID-19 pandemic
does not do sustained economic damage to Idaho residents and businesses. We also worry about
the harm the order does to individual rights, which still must receive protection in times of crisis.
How government officials can assist Idahoans during the COVID-19 pandemic
Local officials can also take actions to help taxpayers, businesses, and employees during times such as these — actions that uplift individuals and businesses through this crisis, instead of holding them back.
Step one to improve Idaho’s property tax system: Freeze property tax budgets
Ever-increasing property taxes are forcing people from their homes and burdening too many families. At the Idaho Freedom Foundation, we routinely hear about annual property tax hikes of 30% to 40%. The Idahoans who share these stories fear for their future and worry daily about being tax-evicted from their homes.
Medicaid expansion enrollment process review
Idaho has added tens of thousands of its residents to the Medicaid program due to expansion. How is that occurring so quickly?
Here's what we know.
So many election dates. Let's consolidate.
When you think of “election day,” you probably think of a date in early November. Or, you might think of a day in late May. If you pay attention to school district elections, a date in mid-March or late August might also pop into your mind. But these four election dates are not the only four days on which Idaho voters go to the polls. Idaho has eight election dates. Four of those dates are outliers, with only a handful of items for electors to vote on — or sometimes only one.
Lockdown to liberty: How to help Idahoans trying to rebuild their lives
Idaho law currently sets up a bleak “out” for many Idahoans with criminal records, especially related to the chance of pursuing their desired occupations. Released prisoners should not be shackled to their past through all of their future pursuits. Yet Idaho has hundreds of shackles, all imposed through the language of law.
Higher education in crisis: How administrative growth puts degrees out of reach for Idaho students and what to do about it
Tens of thousands of Idaho students see a four-year degree as a stepping stone to economic security. High costs derail students from finishing their degrees, or leave them loaded with debt as they launch their careers.
The pain is real: How to alleviate suffering caused by Idaho's worst tax
Property taxes are becoming a big problem for Idahoans of all stripes.
This report reveals what's driving property tax growth and what to do about the problem.
Are you kidding me, Boise?
IFF’s “Are You Kidding Me, Boise?” report showcases five problematic patterns behind the hefty spending, and how Boise can cut its waste. Our report dissects more than $144 million spent by Boise, but the patterns of spending are applicable to all local governments.
Broken ladder: Why Idaho lawmakers need to replace the Career Ladder (Revised September 2019)
The Career Ladder has been the focus of much debate in state government, but few people have a full understanding of what it is, what it does, and how it helps determine teacher salaries.
Objections to Common Core
Idaho is hearing public comment on the Idaho Content Standards, more commonly known as Common Core. This document outlines specific reasons many Idahoans object to Common Core Standards in Idaho. There is one section of general objections, followed by specific objections to Common Core English Language Arts, Math, and Science
Public comment filed July 10, 2019, on Idaho Content Standards public hearing review
Idahoans are frustrated with stagnant student test scores, high school students unprepared for college, and curriculum updated with inflexible Common Core Standards, which haven’t yielded the promised results.
Boise spend: Understanding Boise's proposed 2020 budget
In 2020, the city of Boise proposes to spend $764.7 million. Most of that money will come from you, your neighbors, and your fellow Boiseans.
So let’s talk about how your money ends up with the city, and how the government plans to spend your dollars. .
Socialism in Idaho schools
The Idaho Freedom Foundation compiled these quotes from curricula in an Idaho Curricular Materials Regional Center. Read for yourself: Some Idaho textbooks distort—whether by omission or one-sided narratives—basic economic principles and social issues.
Let’s provide a better future for Idaho’s kids
Giving students a thorough education is a lofty promise and a worthy goal. However, student performance at Idaho schools has stagnated, meaning Idaho’s promise remains unfulfilled.
Blockchain & Government
Blockchain technology has the potential to radically transform the role of government in areas as diverse as welfare, voting, and business regulation. In some areas, blockchain technology can streamline government services, thereby reducing the deadweight-loss in the economy and in our lives. In other areas, blockchain technology can completely eliminate the need for government intervention.
Medicaid expansion: A fiscal train wreck headed for Idaho
Last year, the debate whether to expand Medicaid, through Proposition 2, was devoid of discussion about the growth of traditional Medicaid in Idaho. The true cost of expansion was not discussed either. Prop 2’s ballot language failed to include a cost for expansion nor possible funding mechanisms. Let’s review the expansion of Medicaid over the last two decades to give us a sense of what is to come.
Making welfare work without government
Have you ever wondered how to make welfare more than a government handout? Have you ever wished people would freely invest in others’ lives and journeys, rather than leave it all to the government? Have you ever thought private, voluntary charity could do better than government welfare programs?
Spending comparison of public education, Medicaid, & transportation
Which spending category is growing the fastest? The answer might surprise you.
Roadmap for Idaho
How do we solve the most important challenges facing Idaho? With common-sense conservative solutions. You'll find those in IFF's Roadmap for Idaho, an in-depth look at how to fix transportation, trim the state budget, and provide serious tax relief to families and small businesses.
Projected Fiscal Year 2019 General Fund revenue surplus
Does Idaho have the money to repeal the tax on your groceries?
The 2017 Taxpayers Budget
A conservative budget can cover critical government services and provide serious tax relief.
Idaho solutions?: A preliminary analysis of Idaho's use (and misuse) of selected federal grants
Every year, Idaho receives millions of dollars in grants from the federal government. While proponents often portray these grants as “free money” for Idaho, they are far from it.
10 answers to common questions about public land transfer
You have questions about public land transfer. Luckily, we have answers.
History lessons: Local organizations can provide care for the poor
Policymakers should consider fostering the growth of voluntary, private organizations that are historically proven to help lift people out of poverty, help the poor save for emergencies, and connect individuals with doctors and clinics. At the same time, policymakers must understand that the government must not play a central role in the delivery of charitable services. The best role is to play no role at all.
Economic conditions and their impact on Idaho
Economic signals are mixed to negative, suggesting that fiscal caution is in order. Increasing general fund appropriation greater than the 4.9 percent projected revenue growth may require large corrections in state fiscal year 2017.
2013 Idaho Report on Government Waste
This is our fourth report on Idaho government expenditures. As always, we don't expect that you'll agree with everything you read, but we hope it will make you think. For all of our conversations about how "the government that governs best governs least," we sure do have a lot of governing going on in Idaho. Every single dollar that government spends is money that could have been spent in the private sector.