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Posts published in “Day: May 9, 2007”

A community college test

Last legislative session, backers of a new Idaho community college to serve the Ada-Canyon areas pushed hard for a change in law that would allow for creation and funding of a new community college district with 60% of the vote, rather than the current two-thirds. They lost: A majority of House tax committee members, all of them Republicans and including members from the Canyon/west Ada area, voted against.

There was a reason for that legislative push: The college's backers thought the odds would be stacked fearfully high in asking for a two-thirds vote from a constituency so conservative and often so anti-tax. Now they're trying regardless, looking toward election May 22. The results will be a noteworthy test, worthy of close examination afterward, since the pro-college effort has quite a few assets stacked on its side.

The college's backers, to start with, are well organized and funded. There are actually two organizations, Community College Yes and Community College Now (the latter a project of the Albertson Foundation), and they have been busy. (More on that in a moment.) No organized opposition group has, at least, surfaced, with less than two weeks to go till election day. (There are rumblings that one may yet emerge.)

This effort has, of course, backing from Democrats (now probably a thin majority in Boise, though not beyond city limits); they also supported it in the legislature. But it also has considerable Republican support. Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter, whose credentials as a tax critic are certainly in order, has signed on to a statement on the organization's web site. A bunch of other Republicans have signed on as well.

The Boise corporate community has largely signed on as well. The top staffer of Community College Yes is Mike Reynoldson, recently of Micron Technology and before that a long-time Qwest staffer (who before that was executive director of the Idaho Republican Party). Micron Technology has apparently thrown considerable resources toward the effort, and it is not alone.