Please read this Idaho Press article (Mayors baffled by Idaho’s new property tax bill, expect fallout). I’m with Mayor Klinger and so should you be. I’m deeply grieved about a lot that’s in the article. But let me focus on the fact that local officials are being made the boogeyman while what’s been taken from we the people is our right to decide the level of services we want from our local governments, stripped from us for political expediency.
I’m grieved that services we rely heavily on (police, fire, etc.) will be cut as a result. We’ll beat up our local officials for taking them from us, but they’re given no choice but to match services provided to revenues received. Finally, I am grieved that more public servants like Mayor Klinger are not in every level of government.
I’m sure some will call me RINO for this post (knock yourselves out), but I am a thinking Republican – have been since I was 18. These days I hardly recognize the party. What I’m not is a lemming. I refuse to follow blindly and I recognize political tomfoolery, bloodsport, and downright intimidation when I see them.
I entered politics because I was tired of elected officials promising us the moon to get our vote and then failing to deliver. Too many native Idahoans and new refugees from liberal states are only too happy to live in this state where taxes are low while they complain about traffic, growth, and increasing crime rates. They’re sitting ducks for this false narrative about most local officials.
I guarantee you, if we stay on this trajectory it gets worse, folks, and we only have ourselves to blame (not that we’ll recognize it).
First off, the state should fund state responsibilities fully – to the level of service necessary. You can’t keep cutting taxes on an exploding population forever without paying the piper eventually. Let local governments focus on the local responsibilities. And let new growth pay its own way, for heavens sakes.
If we don’t have enough money to build or maintain local roads, to pay to fix potholes, let us decide if it’s worth paying for. If we don’t have enough cops on a beat, let us decide whether or not to pay for it. If growth rates skyrocket and people can’t afford food or shelter, do not deny us the ability to take care of these very real problems.
I pay to eradicate mosquitos here in Ada County. I’ll pay for a shorter commute, better roads, more cops, and firemen too. My community is an extension of my home. I’ll pay the local share to take care of those who truly can’t care for themselves, to eradicate homelessness and address drug addiction, and other things if I need to. No free rides – the government doesn’t need to do everything (nonprofits and individuals have their roles), but I’ll fund real solutions for hurting people and our communities.
This property tax bill means we will see increasing problems but local government won’t be able to address them without sacrificing core public services. Been there, done that. Unintended consequences, not fun. Doesn’t work.
I want small government and low taxes, and I want problems addressed now before they are too big to manage. I don’t want to pay for unneeded services, but I am willing to pay for the level of local government services our voting majority demands, not yours. I want fair-minded leaders who get that.
Let us – we the people – decide, folks. Stay in your own lane. If rapacious local government officials threaten, it’s our job to rein them in, not yours.
And Mayor Klinger, when you’ve had enough, please run for the Legislature.