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TF editorial got it sort of right … but for the wrong reasons

TF editorial got it sort of right … but for the wrong reasons

Wayne Hoffman
August 11, 2014
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August 11, 2014

The Twin Falls Times-News editorial page says Idaho is in a “race to the bottom” and that Idahoans are part of a “baseless government experiment” of conservatism that is injurious to the state’s residents.

“The extreme conservatism that spews from the state Capitol constantly wages a war on taxes. Lower taxes will spur development, they say,” wrote the newspaper’s editors. “But they’re wrong. Idaho was noticeably absent from a list compiled by Forbes last week of tech industry growth—jobs that actually create a middle class.”

The newspaper is partially correct, that the state’s policies are hurting people, making it harder for Idahoans to earn a good living, have plenty of disposable income or save for retirement. But it is hardly the result of so-called “extreme conservatism that spews from the state Capitol.” Rather, the state’s liberal tax policies are to blame.

Idaho’s tax business climate is considered the worst in the greater Northwest, largely attributable to the state’s egregiously high income tax rates and the decision to tax everything possible—from income to property to sales. “Extreme conservatism” doesn’t allow that to happen. And what happened to Otter’s proposal to cut taxes by $30 million in 2014? Nothing. The money was spent instead.

Extreme conservatism rearing its ugly head again? I don’t think so.

The Times-News writes of the pressure on disposable income in Idaho; I agree. But consider the source. If you’re a young person buying your first house, it’s probably a shock to the system when you’ve carefully calculated your mortgage payment, only to find out that your property taxes may go up 10, 20 or 30 percent year over year. “Extreme conservatism” doesn’t allow that to happen.

Idaho is a great place to live, work, play, raise a family, retire. The Twin Falls’ newspaper editorial page to the contrary, our problem is not “extreme conservatism.” It’s quite the reverse.

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