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Mayor Fuhriman Joins Mayor Bloomberg

November 30th, 2006 by Halli

By George Reimann

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a controversial
crusade to reduce crime by getting “illegal guns” off the streets and is
expanding this effort to reach a national audience by persuading other
mayors to join his effort. Bloomberg claims guns are obtained in other
states and smuggled into his city.

To “prove” his claims he hired private
investigators to go into gun shops in southern states and break Federal
laws by falsifying paperwork to obtain firearms to bring into
NYC. Bloomberg has no authority to order such activity and the BATFE has
complained that Bloomberg has already compromised some of their
investigations. But it seems BATFE is disinclined to prosecute these
lawbreakers.

“Illegal guns” have not been defined. Until a definition is offered one
should assume an illegal gun is any firearm not under the control of law
enforcement or the military. In New Orleans, after Katrina, all
civilian-owned guns were declared to be illegal.

Bloomberg’s anti-gun agenda has enticed more than 100 mayors to join the
crusade and sign “The Pledge.” The list of mayors is dominated by the big
city leftists, which is to be expected, but it also includes red state
Republicans. Only one Idaho mayor has bought into the anti-gun media hype:
Mayor Jared Furiman. Now it remains to be seen how Mayor Furiman will put
his anti-gun philosophy to work in Idaho Falls.

Posted in Idaho Falls Issues, Politics in General | 1 Comment »

Election Reflections

November 30th, 2006 by Halli

By Rep. Tom Loertscher, District 31

I was delayed in getting to town to vote on election day, and being my normal optimistic self I thought that it might have been a good thing because early at my precinct there would surely be a line. The 10:30 AM line was almost out the door. Waiting in a line for twenty minutes is not what I had anticipated but the optimistic view is that at least I got to visit with a lot of my friends and neighbors. The person standing next to me wondered out loud just how he should be voting on one item on the ballot. I saw a look of horror come across the faces of several in line, but they were all eagerly awaiting my answer. I said, “Well if we were three hundred feet from here I could answer that question.” A good laugh followed along with a sigh of relief.

In the aftermath of election day comes the inevitable question, “Are you satisfied with how it turned out?” What can you say to that? Nationally at least it was not the best news for Republicans and in the Idaho House we lost six, one here in River City. There is a lesson here somewhere and depending on who you talk to there is a different answer. So what do I think? When the lines get as blurred as they are now the result is predictable. In Idaho state-wide races there were some clear choices and we win when that is the case.

After the election there is a North Idaho Tour for the newly elected and re-elected. I have been on several of these in the past and decided to go this time as well. Post Falls was the HQ for the tour and for me it was interesting to see some of the changes that have occurred in the intervening years. I went to the Silver Valley and since the dismantling of the smelter the years have brought back the vegetation to the surrounding hills.

Another noteworthy observation is the way the economy there has changed. Four years ago they were experiencing 18% unemployment and today it is at 3.3%. Back then they were complaining about the depressed real estate markets and today things have increased so rapidly that they are complaining about un-affordable housing and high property taxes. Just can’t seem to keep them happy. I think they like this better but it is human nature to complain. The growth is very noticeable and new businesses are cropping up all over the place. What struck me most is that for the most part it has taken place without government involvement and time after time new business owners in the area cited their reason for coming to Idaho was less government regulation. Imagine that, looks like some of us have been right all along.

Posted in Idaho Falls Issues, Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Rep. Tom Loertscher | No Comments »

The Tax Shift Part III

November 29th, 2006 by Halli

Any tax increase is distasteful to most Idahoans, but the shift of school maintenance and operations from the property tax to the sales tax seems fair. What remains is an argument about sales tax on groceries. Idaho is one of only a few states that continue to charge sales tax on everyday food items. Both Governor Risch and Governor-Elect Butch Otter have proposed their own method for softening that blow.

Risch would like to gradually phase out the sales tax on groceries by reducing it by 1% a year over the next 6 years to minimize the impact on the general fund. Otter would like to reduce or eliminate sales tax on groceries only for the lower income. His exact proposal is still forthcoming.

But Governor Risch completes his short term in January, 2007, and returns to the office of Lieutenant Governor, so will not have any real impact on the solution. Otter, on the other hand, assumes the office in January, 2007, so will have something to say about the solution. We’ll all stay tuned for the interesting discussion in the 2007 Idaho legislative session.

Posted in Politics in General, Taxes | 3 Comments »

Republican Women Serve the Community

November 28th, 2006 by Halli

The Bonneville County Republican Women have a wonderful annual charity project. You’ll read the details below. If you live in Bonneville County, I hope you will participate. If you don’t, consider sponsoring a similar event in your community. Shouldn’t be hard finding businesses to cooperate. So get out your shopping list, and add a package of diapers! Below is the BCRW press release.

3nd Annual “Diaper Drive” for the Haven Women’s Shelter
Once again, in place of our monthly luncheon, Bonneville County Republican Women will hold a “Diaper Drive” from Monday, December 11th to Friday, December 15th. We will be collecting diapers for The Haven, a local homeless shelter for single women and children. Last year we collected 8 months worth of diapers for the Haven. This year we want to provide enough diapers to last an entire year.
As a women’s political organization, we feel a great obligation to reach out to women and children in need. The Haven provides such a great service to families in our community, and much of their funding comes from donations. They provide infant supplies for many agencies in town and are always in need of diapers. They use approximately 50 packages a month.
Bonneville County Republican Women and members of our community are invited to purchase diapers and drop them off at one of the following locations on from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Large sizes are especially needed.)

Staker Floral

Corner of 17th Street and Ponderosa near Hastings

HomePointe Real Estate

2635 Channing Way, Suite B

The Children’s Center

1675 Curlew Dr. in Ammon by Sonic
Haven Women’s Shelter
2480 South Yellowstone Hwy
Urgent Care
740 South Woodruff
Eastgate Drug
3250 East 17th Street Ammon – across from Kmart
Westgate Drug
1850 West Broadway – Near Skyline Lanes

Posted in General, Idaho Falls Issues | 1 Comment »

The Passing of a Good Man

November 27th, 2006 by Halli

Lonnie C. Kelly passed away Monday, November 20th. He left a very large void in the hearts of many family and friends.

Lonnie grew up in the Pocatello area, then attended Idaho State University where he earned a degree in pharmacy. He worked as a pharmacist for many years, providing caring service to his many customers.

He was elected to the school board of Bonneville District 93, and served as chairman for 6 years. Of course, he was also a loving husband, and the father of three daughters.

Lonnie served faithfully and willingly at church, where he kept careful watch over congregation members. As a young man, he also filled a 2-year mission to California for his church.

It is as friend and neighbor that I knew Lonnie best. He always had a friendly smile and a firm handshake. And in spite of lifelong health problems himself, he always inquired about the welfare of my family.

Expected to die a number of times over the years, he continued to astound the doctors during the last months of his life. Never one to give up, Lonnie persisted in living life to the fullest and continuing his friendly service, in complete disregard of those morbid predictions.

Lonnie will be sorely missed by many. But his legacy of true friendship, warm service, and indomitable persistence will live on in the lives of all that knew him.

Posted in General | No Comments »

The Tax Shift Part II

November 24th, 2006 by Halli

There are, of course, arguments against the Idaho legislature’s shift of some school expenses from property tax to the sales tax. Democrats are aghast that the poor as well as the rich will be paying more in sales tax. Conservatives and Libertarians are pleased that everyone will be paying their share of school funding.

It is true that renters pay property taxes in their monthly rent. However, they generally remain blissfully unaware of that expense, since they never see the tax bill from the county treasurer. It is very easy for renters (and other non-property tax payers) to vote in higher and higher property tax rates, since they do not personally feel the pain.

And it is also true that landlords, when faced with increases in property taxes, cannot always pass them along to their renters because of market pressure on what they can charge. Thus, landlords may be left holding the bill, unable to recoup the increased cost of doing business.

A former county commissioner once informed me that roughly 35% of Bonneville County residents own their own homes. That leaves a whopping 65% who do not. (I can only assume that other Idaho counties are similar.) He explained that these figures make keeping the super-majority required to pass bonds and levy increases particularly important.

Time was that only property owners were allowed to vote. Perhaps it’s time to reestablish that practice, at least when property taxes are on the line.

Posted in Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

The Tax Shift Part I

November 23rd, 2006 by Halli

In August of this year, the Idaho legislature convened a special session in which Governor Jim Risch prevailed in shifting a significant portion of property tax revenue (used to fund school operations and maintenance) to the sales tax. In so doing, the sales tax was raised from 5% to 6%.

As 2007 property tax bills go out to Idahoans across the state, the news is generally good! Combined with the legislature’s increase of the homeowner’s exemption from $50,000 to $75,000, the tax shift is giving meaningful relief. Instead of the large increases in property taxes seen nearly every year, most homeowners will actually see a decrease.

Many Idahoans are being taxed right out of the homes they have owned for years, as county assessors try to keep their appraisals abreast of skyrocketing market values. That is why most conservative legislators see the property tax as the least fair of the three taxes levied in the state.

Posted in Politics in General, Taxes | 2 Comments »

Own or Rent? You May Be Surprised!

November 22nd, 2006 by Halli

So you think you own your own home. Or maybe it’s commercial property, or rentals. You think the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution provides protection for the ownership of private property. Perhaps you’ve even heard it said that ownership of private property, and the protections offered for that ownership truly set the United States apart from the rest of the world.

So I ask again: do you think you own your property? Take this easy test. Don’t pay your property taxes for a few years, and see what happens.

That’s right, your property will end up belonging to the government, with your county acting as the front man. This is why I maintain that we all just rent our property from the government. Consider your property tax payments as merely rent.

Interestingly enough, should you suggest to an Idaho legislator that the property tax be done away, he/she will shriek in horror and tell you it would unbalance the famous “three-legged stool ” of Idaho taxation. Those three legs would be property tax, sales tax and income tax. Never mind that many states do not find it necessary to have all three methods of getting into your pocketbook.

Expect more posts on Idaho taxation in the near future.

Posted in Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

A Word to the Wise

November 21st, 2006 by Halli

This morning I had to ship some packages to the grandkids scattered across the nation. (In retrospect, I should have insisted that my children marry local kids to increase the chance they’d settle a little closer!) As I was standing at the shipping counter at the neighborhood ship and copy shop, I was a little surprised to be approached by an older gentleman, asking “Are you one of the radio ladies?” When I responded in the affirmative, he shook his head and said how much we had been missed on the radio during the just-past election season. “We were just in the dark”, he remarked.

He then went on to say he was in the shop to copy everything in his wallet, as a reference in case it was stolen. This action was prompted by an experience his wife had in the past week. “I guess we’re both pretty gullible”, he observed. She answered their front door one day to find a woman and small child. “My car just broke down – may I please use your phone?” Of course the kindly grandma invited them in, and showed the woman to the phone. “Oh, and could you take my little girl to the potty while I make my phone call?” Again the hostess agreed.

Only after the woman and child left did his wife discover that her purse had been rifled, and her wallet stolen. Police were called, and brought forward several prospective suspects, but none matched his wife’s mental picture of the perpetrator. Her wallet and the items it contained are not likely to ever be retrieved.

“You know, it’s hard to remember everything you’ve got in your wallet. We’ve spent the last week calling the banks, the credit card companies, Social Security, and even Medicare. Can you believe it? She made off with my Medicare number. So today I’m going to copy everything in my pocket, just in case my wallet goes missing, too.” He explained that he shared this experience with me as a cautionary tale, hoping to prevent a similar robbery for others.

As I finished paying for my packages, he was busily laying out the entire contents of his wallet on the glass surface of a nearby copy machine. We wished each other a happy Thanksgiving before I returned to my car. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the experience as I drove home. I hope it will make an impact on you, too, as you deal with your fellow man (and woman).

Kindness is usually the right decision, but sometimes we must temper our better nature by assessing the safety issues before proceeding. It’s better to risk being thought inconsiderate than to hazard becoming a statistic ourselves. To learn more about common scams making the rounds, contact the local Better Business Bureau, and bone up on deterrents to identity theft.

Posted in General | 4 Comments »

Liberal, or Libertarian?

November 17th, 2006 by Halli

Have you ever wondered whether you are a liberal, conservative, libertarian, or statist/populist? Or are you a true centrist? There’s a quick, painless way to find out – just take the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.

If you have ever been confused about the labels that are bandied about by pundits, politicians and party hacks, this will help you clarify the issue. Of course, there can be differences in definitions, but you will quickly get the idea.

The Nolan Chart.
This quiz is based on an idea of David Nolan, one of the founders of the Libertarian Party. Nolan realized that simply trying to divide everyone between “right” or “left” missed some important differences. Nolan devised a chart with the x-axis representing economic control, and the y-axis representing moral control.

Think about it for a minute. If you favor government exercising high economic control (such as high taxes and trade controls) and low moral control (such as control of pornography and abortion), you are a liberal, or to the left of center.

If you prefer low economic control and high moral control, you are a conservative, or to the right of center. If you prefer high control in both areas, you are a statist/populist. But what if you prefer low control in both areas? You, my friend, are a libertarian.

More Help.
Still confused? Read more about David Nolan. And do take the Quiz. You may be surprised to find your own particular brand of government to be something different from what you supposed. Whatever you find, you will discover a more precise and enlightening way to think about politics.

Posted in Politics in General | 4 Comments »

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