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Butch Proposes Smaller Government: What’s Not to Like?

February 28th, 2007 by Halli

Governor Butch Otter is proposing to eliminate 2 departments of Idaho State government by moving their functions to other departments.

Both the Department of Administration and the Division of Human Resources would be eliminated, cutting up to 50 jobs. Each proposal is contained in a separate bill.

So let’s see here. Functions performed by the eliminated departments would be assigned to other departments, so no essential task is neglected. Fewer state workers would need offices, easing the space crunch the government apparently feels, and in the future fewer government buildings may need to be rented or built. Government would be smaller, freeing dollars for more important government duties, and/or saving taxpayer money.

Somebody help me – WHERE’S THE DOWNSIDE?

The only objections you should be hearing are from those who are invested somehow in bigger government or job security, or both.

First come outcries from democrats and other statist types in the legislature. Many of them are elected largely by government employees, and derive their power by promising higher salaries and more benefits to them.
Certainly, all employees in these two departments will feel distressed. Even if individuals keep their jobs, their work day will be different in various ways. Directors and managers will be demoted or fired. There will also be changes in the departments accepting the tasks and employees.

How do we console these individuals? We can remember that we’ve just been told in unmistakable terms that the State of Idaho pays only a percentage of the salaries offered by private entities for the same tasks. Perhaps these displaced state workers would do well to see this experience as an opportunity to better their situation. (“Ah”, they will say, “but the retirement and other benefits in the private sector are not nearly as good.” True – just more savings for the taxpayer.)

It is a fact that the directors and employees of the Departments of Administration and Human Resources are, by definition, bureaucrats. In my observation, whatever else bureaucrats do, they are expert at justifying their own positions, and expanding their little spheres of power at every opportunity. That’s good for them, bad for the taxpayer.

(Generally they do this by keeping everything and everyone around them in a constant state of upheaval by implementing one new program after another to prove they are indispensable. This kind of inevitable activity prevents true efficiency and possibly even the function for which the department was created. Thus, not only are they not part of the “solution”, they are part of the “problem”!)

Not every government employee is out to rob the taxpayer, but there are at least a few in every office who are. If you’ve had the opportunity to observe any level of government at work, you know this is true.

A little “trimming of the fat” of government every now and then is both healthy and wise to eliminate positions that perform no useful function (except for the position holder who takes home the paycheck with “State of Idaho” stamped on it).

All who adhere to the principle of smaller government (which should include every Republican in the state) should be rejoicing at Butch’s proposals, and cheering him on to more cutting in subsequent years. If you haven’t read it lately, skim the Idaho Republican Party platform. It’s inspiring.

Posted in Idaho Legislature, Politics in General, Taxes | No Comments »

A Standard for All Legislation

February 28th, 2007 by Halli

Some years ago, when first elected President Pro Temp of the Idaho Senate, Senator Bob Geddes proposed standards by which all pending legislation should be judged. Since the busiest time of the 2007 session is now upon us, when the largest number of bills will be voted up or down, I think it wise to revisit those standards.

Senator Geddes suggested that these questions be asked regarding every piece of legislation:

1. Does this action increase personal responsibility, freedom and liberty?
2. Should state government be doing this?
3. Does this duplicate anything already in place?
4. Could the private sector do it better?
5. Do the short and long-term benefits outweigh the short and long-term costs?

Another long-time legislator suggested the addition of one critical question:

6. Who will be accountable?

When and only when these questions are answered satisfactorily should a legislator vote “yes”

Senator Geddes apparently no longer promotes the use of these standards when considering new laws. However, that does not diminish their worth. I feel all citizens of the state of Idaho would benefit by their application.

If you agree, why not copy and paste this post into an email to your legislators?

Posted in Idaho Legislature, Property Rights, Taxes | No Comments »

House Highlights: 26 February 2007

February 27th, 2007 by Halli

By Tom Loertscher

Abraham Lincoln once said, “When you have got an elephant by the hind
leg, and he is trying to run away, it’s best to let him run.” It
seems like from time to time this week we have had an elephant by the
leg.

After the internet sales tax bill had hung on the third reading
calendar for many days it came to a very long and protracted debate on
the House floor. The debate was not boring by any means and the
sponsors, Representatives Dennis Lake and Leon Smith made detailed
explanations about how the system would work. Overall the discussions on
both sides of the issue were good, but the Nays carried the day and the
bill failed. I voted no because I am not convinced that there are not
constitutional issues.

Now having said that, you know there is this little line on your Idaho
Income Tax form where you can report and pay your use tax (another name
for sales tax) on taxable items you may have purchased on line.
According to the sponsors, and it is state law by the way, if you fail
to report you are a tax evader, and you might just have that elephant by
the hind leg aka the Idaho State Tax Commission.

The State Affairs hearing on the bowling center smoking ban bill, was
one of the more interesting meetings I’ve ever witnessed in my time
around these halls. We ask all those who want to testify on legislation
to sign up before the hearing, so that we know how to manage the time
better and it provides a list for the minutes as well. After a brief
presentation by Representative Ring of Canyon County, the first name on
the sign-up sheet was Allie Hill. Allie, a second grader who lives in
Boise, stole the show and gave the best testimony on the bill of anyone
that spoke before the committee. One of her comments was, “People who
smoke stink on the inside and on the outside.”

Even more curious was the absence of the bowling centers who apparently
have decided not to fight it anymore. Many of the centers have already
changed to non-smoking, recognizing that they were losing clientele
because of the smoke. It looks like they decided to let the elephant
run. Do we really need this law? That could be argued I suppose, but
once again the market place is at work.

It has also been a week of remembering with Presidents Day, Lincoln
Day festivities and memorials. Each year in the House (and the Senate
for that matter) we have a memorial service for former members of the
body who have passed away last year. I was asked to memorialize Senator
Richard Egbert who served both in the House and the Senate. From my
research there were two things that stood out.

Dick was a Democrat but was highly respected by Republicans and
Democrats alike. One of his greatest pieces of advice he gave to rookies
in the legislature was, “You got to figure out who you can trust
around here.” Dick was described by a Republican colleague as “…an
excellent legislator, a statesman, a man of the highest integrity and
character, a man of much wisdom and wit and intelligence, and a man who
was liked and looked up to in deliberations as a lawmaker.”

Lincoln Day dinners and banquets have become a great tradition all over
the State. I was able to attend three this year, Ada County, Bear Lake
County and Region Seven. I even got to hear some of the speeches more
than once. The best part of these get-togethers for me is being at home
visiting with good friends.

Some of my favorite quotes come from President Lincoln, so I’ll close
with another. “Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false
accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction
to the government, nor of dungeons to ourselves. Let us have faith the
right makes might, and in that faith let us to the end dare to do our
duty as we understand it.”

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

The Day Care Debate: The “Enlightened” Meet the “Uninformed”…

February 27th, 2007 by Halli

…in the Idaho House Health and Welfare Committee…or at least that’s what the self-anointed Idaho intelligentsia would have you believe.

Monday the Health and Welfare committee voted down a bill designed to drastically tighten regulation of daycare providers and facilities. Originally, the proposal would have affected those caring for as few as 2 children not related to the care provider.

Of course, this was framed as the informed (“experts” such as executive director of the Idaho Association for the Education of Young Children and a representative from the American Association of University Women of Idaho) vs. the uninformed (the six members of the Health and Welfare committee objecting to the new rules).

These “experts” went so far as to say the six were “definitely out of touch” and “living in a time warp” for opposing such “common sense” proposals. I suppose these are insinuations that the six men were not raised in families, never married, nor had children of their own. But I digress.

When there were objections to this bill, sponsor Democrat George Saylor of Coeur d’Alene offered an amendment increasing to six the minimum number of children required for a daycare to fall under the proposed rules.

However, that didn’t change a nearly incomprehensible point system used to determine the ratio of caregivers to children, the $150 initial fee (with $90 biennial renewal), additional fees charged for criminal background checks, and extensive inspections.

Perhaps I’m “out of touch”, as well, but I assumed most parents use daycare in order to work to earn money to support their family. Increasing the cost of daycare through such regulation would only hurt these families.

On second thought, perhaps the new rules would raise the cost of daycare sufficiently to convince more mothers to stay home and care for their own children. Now I’ve proven I’m “out of touch”.

Representative Tom Loertscher, member of the committee, commented, “There is no substitute, there is absolutely no substitute for families taking care of children.” Perhaps he isn’t as uninformed as some would have you think.

Fortunately, this bill was voted down in committee.

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Posted in Idaho Legislature | 2 Comments »

Guest Post: Senate Approves Parental Consent Abortion Bill

February 27th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

The Idaho State Senate approved SB1082 on a 23-12 vote Monday morning. The vote puts the legislation well on its way to becoming law.

During debate, the bill sponsor, Sen. Russ Fulcher, argued that it was more than ironic that our teenage daughters needed our permission to get an aspirin from the school nurse – but we wouldn’t even be informed after an abortion as things now stand.

The only Democrat to support the measure was Sen. Diane Bilyeu of Pocatello. Sen. Edgar Malepeai, also from the Pocatello area, supported the measure in committee, but switched his vote on the floor. He said during debate that he was just troubled by how the legislation would affect girls coming from dysfunctional homes.

There were some other pleasant surprises. A number of freshmen cast votes on their first pro-Life legislation: Jim Hammond of Post Falls; Lee Heinrich of Cascade; Steven Bair of Blackfooot and Jeff Siddoway of Terreton.

Sen. John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene, who usually doesn’t support pro-Life legislation, cast a vote in support of the bill.

Probably the most disappointing vote came from John Andreason of Boise’s District 15. Without comment, he voted against the bill. Sen. Andreason has voted at least three times for Parental Consent legislation during his 7 terms in the Senate. But he bailed out on principle yesterday, voting against legislation which is considerably weaker than those previous versions.

The measure now heads to the House State Affairs Committee.

Here is how the full Senate voted:

02/26 SB1082 as amen – PASSED – 23-12-0

AYES – Bair (R), Bastian (R), Bilyeu (D), Cameron (R), Corder(R) Darrington(R), Davis (R), Fulcher (R), Gannon (R), Geddes (R), Goedde (R), Hammond (R), Heinrich (R), Hill (R), Jorgenson(R), Little (R), Lodge(R), McGee (R), McKague (R), McKenzie (R), Pearce (R), Richardson (R), Siddoway (R)

NAYS – Andreason (R), Broadsword (R), Burkett (D), Coiner (R), Kelly (D), Keough (R), Langhorst (D), Malepeai (D), Schroeder(R), Stegner (R), Stennett (D), Werk (D)

Absent and excused – None

Floor Sponsor – Fulcher
Title Approved – to House

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Legislature, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | 1 Comment »

A “Real” Exam

February 26th, 2007 by Halli

A reader pointed out that the post “An Eight Grade Education Circa 1895″ contains a purported 8th grade exam which turns out to be an urban legend, as asserted by Snopes. (Of course, as far as I know, there is no website which checks out Snopes.) However, for the sake of the argument, I accept the premise that the exam was made up.

Nonetheless, for your amusement and education I have included a link to an exam which Snopes apparently declares to be the “real McCoy”, complete with both archaic and incorrect spelling. Give it a try.

Posted in Education, General | No Comments »

Guest Post: An Eighth Grade Education, circa 1895

February 26th, 2007 by Halli

Submitted by Jesse Higgins

How do we compare with what our Grandparents were taught and what our children are being taught. I have found a copy of a 1895 final exam for graduation from the 8th grade. This test was given to 7th and 8th grade students in Salina, Kansas. Seventh grade students could take the test and Eighth grade students were required to pass. Please remember this is 8th grade 112 years ago.

A Completed 8th Grade Final Exam – Salina, Kansas, 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)
1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)
1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

Orthography (Time, one hour)
1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)
1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Health (Time, 45 minutes)
1. Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?
2. How does nutrition reach the circulation?
3. What is the function of the liver? Of the kidneys?
4. How would you stop the flow of blood from an artery in the case of laceration?

Posted in Education, Guest Posts | 3 Comments »

Guest Post: Do We Live in a Democracy?

February 26th, 2007 by Halli

By Jesse Higgins

About a week ago I was listening to a radio interview of the President of the IEA (Idaho Education Association). In 45 minutes she said, on three different occasions, “we live in a democracy”. This is from “the top educator” in our state. For the record, we live in a democratically elected Constitutional Republic. The following are four quotes from three of the “Founders” of our country explaining their feelings about “Democracy”.

John Adams

1763 – An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power
[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.
Reference: Original Intent, Barton (338); original The Papers of John Adams, Taylor, ed., vol. 1 (83)

John Adams

1814 – letter to John Taylor
Remember democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.
Reference: Original Intent, Barton (335); original The Works of John Adams, C.F. Adams, ed., vol. 6 (484)

Fisher Ames

1788 – speech in the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention
The known propensity of a democracy is to licentiousness which the ambitious call, and ignorant believe to be liberty.
Reference: The Works of Fisher Ames, W.B. Allen, ed., vol. 1 (546)

James Madison
1787 – Federalist No. 10
[D]emocracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security, or the rights of property; and have, in general, been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths.
Reference: Madison, Federalist No. 10 (81)

Posted in Education, Guest Posts, Politics in General | No Comments »

Mayor Fuhriman Just Can’t Get It Right

February 24th, 2007 by Halli

The Idaho Falls newspaper reported on February 9th that City Councilman Larry Lyon had been ousted from his position as chairman of the city airport committee – because Mayor Jared Fuhriman had illegally done away with the committee by combining it with another.

Turns out the airport committee was established by city ordinance in 2002, something the mayor didn’t bother to find out.

Not only that, but Larry Lyon wasn’t even at the meeting because the day of the city council meeting had been changed – moved up by 2 days to a Tuesday instead of the traditional Thursday. Larry had received the notice, but like many of us would have done, assumed it was just the usual. Busy with work during the day and college courses in the evenings, Larry does have a few things to occupy his thoughts.

Once again Mayor Fuhriman moves ahead without considering the rule of law. And once again, I ascribe his actions to his “police department” mentality.

You see, the chief of police is appointed and answers only to the one who appointed him – the mayor. The chief is accustomed to giving orders and having them followed, with minimal accountability to the citizens. The chief of police is a bureaucrat of the first degree.

The Sheriff’s office is in stark contrast: the sheriff is elected by the voters, and is the constitutional law enforcement officer in the county. He answers to the citizens of the county every day. If he makes a mistake, he’ll pay for it at election time because he is not insulated from the citizens as is the police chief.

Jared Fuhriman, fresh from the police department, just keeps making executive decisions with complete disregard for the law or citizen input (even when it is given). Look for him to propose scrapping the city law that established the airport committee in order to validate his actions. And look for his “yes men” on the council to give him the green light.

The lesson to be learned? If you’re the mayor and your actions turn out to be contrary to the law, you can always change the law after the fact.

Hmmm. Wonder if that would work for the average citizen who mistakenly speeds through a school zone? Think ignorance will get you out of a ticket?

Posted in Idaho Falls Issues, Politics in General, Taxes | 6 Comments »

Guest Post: Washington Planned Parenthood Clinic Closes

February 24th, 2007 by Halli

From Idaho Chooses Life

Planned Parenthood announced that it will close one of its Washington state facilities on March 8th. Located in Longview, the clinic does not provide abortion services – but it does offer various products like condoms, breast exams and contraceptives. They do, however, provide abortion referrals.

Planned Parenthood blamed the closing on cutbacks in state funding of “reproductive health services”.

STOP Planned Parenthood President Jim Sedlak joined many pro-Lifers in celebrating the setback for America’s largest abortion provider. He indicated in a news release that the closure demonstrates how dependent this radical organization is on public tax dollars.

The rejoicing may not over. Planned Parenthood spokeswoman Jennifer Allen indicated that several other clinics in the state may have to close as well.

Posted in Guest Posts, Idaho Pro-Life Issues | No Comments »

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