"I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." - Thomas Jefferson (appears in the Jefferson Memorial)

An excellent catch by the Idaho Statesman today: The high cost of photo ops and ego boosting.

The context here, of course, is that the Otter Administration has proposed, in the interest of saving dollars measured more in the thousands (elimination of the Human Rights Commission and Hispanic Commission) or not a lot more (public television’s state buy-in, which could bring much of the network to crash).

What the Statesman found was this: “Since June, the Idaho Transportation Department has spent almost $70,000 on seven such groundbreaking or dedication ceremonies – which Otter’s office wanted to be the ‘governor’s signature events.’ . . . Four of these highway ceremonies, all in northern or eastern Idaho, were put together by ITD’s own communications staff at a total cost of $9,571 – an average of $2,393 per ceremony. But for the three Valley events, ITD paid RBCI, a private consulting firm. The cost for these three: $60,035 – an average of $20,012 per ceremony.”

These are the events where “dignitaries” stand around, smile, cut ribbons and get their pictures taken. What the public actually gets out of them . . . well . . .

The House Transportation chair, JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, described herself as “appalled.”

The story suggests that the costs more or less snuck up on their governor’s office – that they didn’t know how large the costs were – while the transportation department put together the events more or less as they seemed to be asked to do. No particular villain here.

Maybe a few lessons to be absorbed, though.

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Pam Roach

Pam Roach

Even if it seems almost unprecedented, you have to figure: It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Washington Senate Republican Caucus has kicked out one of its members, Senator Pam Roach, R-Auburn (or is it Auburn? where are the district lines again, for King County as well as legislature . . .)

Ousting a member from a caucus is fairly extreme step, and extremely rare, because caucuses are ordinarily focused hard on increasing their numbers, not diminishing them, especially if – as is the case with Washington’s Senate Republicans – they’re in a distinct minority.

The action by fellow Republican senators doesn’t remove her from the Senate (they can’t do that) or change her status as a Republican; mainly, it keeps her out of the room when the others hold a caucus meeting to discuss Republican Senate policy and strategy. They are reported to have written her, “As your fellow senators, it is difficult to be in a room with you when you erupt in anger . . . For our employees it is unacceptable.”

There have been . . . incidents over the years, which have gone public, which make you wonder what those caucus sessions have been like. She has been disciplined before and, it’s worth noting, by fellow Republicans, not by Democrats.

On her blog, Roach said that “I wanted you to know that there is some petty politics going on with some of my colleagues. Let me assure you that I will not be distracted from my representation of the values of the 31st District.”

Soon after, she posted a string of supportive comments: “It is this type of in-fighting that hurts the Republican Party. Keep saying it
like it is, Pam. Frankly, if someone gets their feelings hurt while working in
politics, maybe they chose the wrong field to work in.” “The grassroots does have power. Independents do have voting power. I am a voter. Right now; the Republican party has some explaining to do. You do have support!” “Hmmm, When I heard the piece last night on the news my thought was “are they afraid of what she is saying because she is right? Hang in there!” “Please run for governor!” “You are doing a great job Pam!!! You have alot of people who appreciate all you do for our community….” “Pam, You go girl!”

What next?

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A bit insiderish, what follows. But some points in this Boise kerfuffle about news reporting, access to government and advocacy are worth some consideration. So here goes.

One of the little-known organizations at the Idaho statehouse is the Capitol Correspondents Association. (Most states have counterpart associations, such as the Oregon Legislative Correspondents Association.) Apart from being an organization of professionals, a few other perks go along with it: Wearing a badge which allows the reporter (or photographer, or editor) access to certain places (such as chamber floors) and at times where other members of the public can’t go, including a working room.

I was a member of this group years ago, when working for newspapers in Boise, Pocatello and Nampa. Eventually I concluded that while the idea of associating with peers was fine, the idea of special access was flawed – reporters should be able to go wherever the public can go, have what the public has, but no more (unless, let’s space, it was room space paid for). To allow more puts these reporter in a special class, with special priveleges to be protected, and it skews their relationship with the legislators. In 2001 I covered the Idaho session for the Lewiston Tribune in a fashion similar to what they and I had been accustomed to in the past, declined to seek membership (which I have no doubt would have been granted), and found myself at no disadvantage at all in covering the session or delivering news stories. I’ve since recommended other reporters follow a similar path; I’m not aware of any who have. Perks, however minor, are hard to give up.

The question arising this week is somewhat different. It too will put me in a minority position.

A new web site this year called Idaho Reporter, a project of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, is busy with news items about the Idaho Legislature. Quite busy: Four major articles about the session today, a steady stream since the session began. Its web site is publicly-accessible, not behind a pay wall or such (unlike three Idaho daily newspapers). It has a full-time staff, including at least two reporters (more than all but a few Idaho news organizations devote to the legislature).

Two of its reporters, Dustin Hurst and Brad Iverson-Long, this month applied for membership in the Capitol Correspondents Association. Their applications were rejected, both by the board and unanimously by the membership, on grounds that they did not meet the group’s criteria for membership. Those eligibility criteria (as noted in the Boise Weekly piece linked here):

Article 3: Definitions
(1) For purposes of this Association, a “news organization” is a general circulation newspaper, web outlet, radio station, or television station, or a network or syndicate that has a contractual agreement with a general circulation newspaper, web outlet, radio station or television stations to provide regular coverage of the Idaho Legislature and state government.

(2) For purposes of this Association, a “news organization” is not one that produces for or by an organization with membership requirements, or one that produces for or by an organization that exists to advocate, lobby or otherwise influence legislative, executive or judicial decisions.

(3) For purposes of the Association, a “correspondent” includes reporters, photographers, videographers, and other individuals employed by a news organization whose task is to cover the Idaho State Legislature.

Parsing through this: There’s no meaningful doubt that Hurst and Iverson-Long are reporters: They’re doing that work. They produce news reports, by any reasonable definition. They’re covering the legislature. At the Statehouse. Their reports are disseminated to the public at large.

The issue is in the section referring to “an organization that exists to advocate, lobby or otherwise influence legislative, executive or judicial decisions.” CCA President Betsy Russell seemed to confirm that in saying, “It is simply a matter of what constitutes a news organization, and under our bylaws, an advocacy organization is not a news organization.”

That’s not so simple as it sounds, though.

Newspapers and broadcasters pay lobbyists, sometimes some of the best available, usually through associations, to lobby the legislature on their behalf. So for that matter do reporters themselves: The Idaho Press Club long has lobbied the lawmakers and often has hired lobbyists (who mainly have worked on open meeting and public records matters), and the overlap between the CCA and the IPC often has been considerable. I’ve watched as CCA members and even leaders stood to address legislators at public meetings on open records legislation. Everyone grimaced a bit, but no one called an ethics violation.

Nor, in any major way, when the Coeur d’Alene Press sent long-time Republican office holder and activist Ron Rankin south to Boise to cover the legislature in his own unique fashion. He was accredited. So have been plenty of other reporters for the Press (your scribe being one of them, from long ago), all paid by a newspaper which was a subsidiary of a large Panhandle corporation with lots of local and regional tentacles and frequent involvement with the legislature. Not to single out the Press: Many other newspapers have had their own involvements with state law, and publishers have shown up from time to time at the Statehouse. One former newspaper publisher, Stephen Hartgen, formerly of the Twin Falls Times-News, is now a Republican House member from Twin Falls, and he’s no massively changed person in his new role from his old one. Contentions of purity quickly get hard to defend in this arena.

If the reporters for Idaho Reporter were to actively lobby (as some credentialed reporters actually have in the past), they would be in violation of the CCA standards. But that’s not what’s alleged here.

You can make the point that the Idaho Freedom Foundation is an advocacy organization, and there’s no doubt it is – it was heavily involved with the Tea Party event earlier this month, and it is blunt in advocacy for “market solutions” (you need no expertise in Idaho politics to figure out how that translates). Is it correct to say that it “exists to advocate, lobby or otherwise influence legislative, executive or judicial decisions.” In part, surely; but a good chunk of its work has been public-directed delivery of simple (periodically statistical) information. In other words, legislative advocacy is one piece of its activity, but hardly all, and evidently not even most.

Flipped around: Can any newspaper reporter at the Statehouse say their organizations do not advocate for or against legislative action? If they do, they must work for a newspaper without an editorial page.

As noted at the top, there’s some skepticism in this space about the CCA as anything more than a professional fellowship. But if it is going to be more than that, passing out access and privileges, then its members might do well to give more careful thought to how and why it does what it does.

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Ben Bernanke was confirmed today to remain as chair of the Federal Reserve. the Senate vote was 70-30, a clear win margin.

But two-thirds of the Northwest delegation was against him.

Both of Idaho’s Republicans, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, voted against; most of the 30 opposition votes were Republicans.

But the area’s four Democrats split – seniors against juniors. The senior senators in Washington and Oregon, Patty Murray and Ron Wyden, voted in favor. The juniors, Maria Cantwell and Jeff Merkley (who has been loud for some weeks in his opposition to Bernanke), voted against.

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If you’re looking for a one-sentence explanation of why “yes” won on the 66/67 votes yesterday, well, there isn’t one. There are lots of individual factors, though. The structuring of the taxes involved (while far from perfect) were such as to appeal to a clear majority of voters. It helped that the yes side wasn’t outspent by no (which might have been the case – in fact the two sides weren’t that terribly far apart).

Blue Oregon’s Kari Chisholm has drawn a common line through the votes for Oregon taxes, Massachusetts Senate and New Jersey governor – all responses against a wealthy or insider elite.

And there was something else: The massive ground game put on the yes people, especially in the last week. The margin in Multnomah County (Portland/Gresham) in favor of the issues was so large that it nearly equalled the statewide margin in favor, and Multnomah balloting was sluggish as recently as late last week. Then volunteers pulled in the votes by the tens of thousands.

Another Blue Oregon writer, T.A. Barnhart, pointed out (on a Facebook comment today) that the turnout level (upward of 50%) was not such as ordinarily might help this kind of ballot issue. But: “the tv ads may have been good (i only saw a few) but it was the ground game that won this. a lot of that money supported that: the Activate phone system, flyers, staff, offices, etc. if volunteers by the thousands had not busted ass for weeks, no tv ad would have saved us. and it’s awesome because it shows us how we win progressive victories. Howard Dean gets it; Rahm Emmanuel does not. hence the problems Obama faces for his choice in advisors.”

Lots of food for thought here.

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That speculation that Oregon’s vote yesterday for two tax measures would have an effect in Washington state too is more than just speculation.

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire released this today:

“Oregon voters met the challenge of these difficult times and clearly said that schools, healthcare, public safety and other essential services cannot be forsaken. It is gratifying to see that the public understands the importance of preserving services to the most needy and providing education to the next generation–especially now when those efforts are most needed.”

Hint, hint.

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Oregon Washington

Is the idea of raising taxes dead in this political climate? No . . . and that was one of the points you can draw from the decision in Oregon tonight.

Last year, the Oregon Legislature passed two tax measures which were challenged. After a ferocious campaign, the voter verdict was in favor. With the great bulk of the votes in (what remains are widely scattered and unlikely to drastically change the percentages), yes on 66 stood at 54.4% and yes on 67 at 54%.

We’ll have more on this in the days ahead, but for now, a few points to bear in mind.

bullet One aspect of this genuinely is historic: Oregon voters have not approved a new tax or a tax increase in 80 years (when they okayed the income tax). This is a truly remarkable reversal.

bullet The vote is a huge blow to Oregon Republicans. It brings to mind a parallel from 2005 in Washington state, when Democratic legislators passed a controversial gas tax and Republicans challenged it on the ballot. The voters upheld the gas tax, and in the 2006 election swept out a bunch of Republicans. The partisan dynamic in Oregon has just changed: If Democrats were on the defensive in the state in recent months, that’s no longer true. Republicans are going to have to scramble – and come up with some new rationales.

bullet This will provide a powerful incentive for Washington Democrats to come up with some form of new tax or other revenue source to patch their budget holes. This current experience in comparable (and even more tax-averse) Oregon, coupled with their 2005 experience, likely will be encouraging. And assuming whatever they do is reasonably well crafted, Washington Republicans may be wary of trying another ballot challenge only to risk more voter blowback.

bullet Counties passing 66 and (with present incomplete numbers) were the same list: Benton, Clatsop, Columbia, Hood River, Lane, Lincoln, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington; third-largest Clackamas was on the bubble. There was a line of thought that 66 might pass while 67 failed; not only was the vote very much the same for both, but it was very much the same for both almost everywhere. The vote also matched pretty closely the partisan split in the state, with one area of special vote: Marion/Polk, an area with lots of state employees but also an area traditionally resistant to money issues on the ballot.

bullet You almost feel, many miles away, that exhale of relief from many Oregon legislators. Next month’s session abruptly became vastly easier.

bullet Did this provide a bit of a message nationally? Might it have a little impact on the Washington on the east coast? Just might.

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If you’re following the Idaho 1st district campaign, you’ll want to check out the just-posted piece by the Idaho Statesman‘s Dan Popkey, outlining the emerging breaks among Republicans as they separate into support of the two (current) candidates for the U.S. House, Vaughn Ward and Paul Labrador.

Specifically, he described Republicans as “separating into camps representing the Idaho Republican Party’s establishment and libertarian-conservative reform wings” – backing Ward, a former staffer for former Senator and Governor Dirk Kempthorne, and state Representative Raul Labrador.

No quarrel here with the basic structure Popkey lays out, but two other points also should be borne in mind.

One that Ward originally positioned himself as as sort of reform/outsider in running against Ken Roberts, who was in the state House Republican leadership. (Roberts later dropped out.) Of course, he could hardly have gotten the kind of financial and organizational support he got without backing from some well-placed people, but that early positioning allowed him to gather some backing from those disaffected with the party establishment as well. (Some critics within the party see him, rightly or wrongly, as the candidate of the Kempthorne and Jim Risch crowd.) His high-profile support this week from both Kempthorne and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna (who was very much on the same side as Labrador in some of the internal party battles of recent years) is an indication of that.

The second point is the cross-currents in the Republican Party, the mini-ripples of personal and policy conflicts within a party which for so long has been in a position of dominance, mean that loyalties among elected officials and party people don’t always fall exactly where you think they will.

And there remains the outside possibility of a return of former Representative Bill Sali into the contest. This will be a battle of some interest for the next several months.

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Might as well be said now, before the votes are counted: The voting ending in Oregon today is taking place in a substantial election. Special elections often aren’t so big a deal, except maybe locally. This one is different.

The first election in the Northwest in this new decade, it will likely have a decisive effect on how Oregon pays for its state and local services – but also much more. Last legislative session lawmakers imposed two tax increases: Is that a permissible thing? What are attitudes toward government, and toward the parties?

Not only Oregonians but political people around the country are watching. Notably, policy makers in Washington, where legislators are trying to figure out what to do with the massive hole in their budget.

Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian noted,

Whatever happens, Tuesday night will be historic. If the Yes side wins, it would be the first voter-approved income-tax increase since Oregon voters approved the income tax back in 1930 (and that was after they voted it in and then quickly repealed it in the 1920s).

If the No side wins, it will be a huge repudiation of the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and an expensive failure for the public-employee unions that largely bankrolled the pro-tax campaign.

All true, of course. The Oregonian‘s page should be a good place to follow this; we’ll be back shortly.

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And maybe sometimes micromanaging is what a legislature has to do.

A long-standing, fairly normal part of long-term mental health treatment for many patients has been field trips. (Remember the trip in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest?) Not hard to see how such trips can be beneficial, and why they’ve been done for a long time. And why they should be.

But then you run into this:

Last September 19, the Washington Eastern State Hospital conducted a field trip to a Spokane fair for some of the patients. One of those patients was Phillip Michael Paul, 47, who in 1987 was determined not guilty by reason of insanity in the killing of an elderly woman. In 1981, he escaped but was recaptured. So last fall, he and various other patients were taken to the Spokane fair . . . and Paul escaped. He was at large for several days before recapture.

Now, Representative Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, has proposed a bill to prohibit field trips for patients who are in mental institutions because they have violent histories.

You wouldn’t think that would be necessary. But apparently it is.

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Whatever impact the Oregonian expects to have on the Measures 66 and 67 election (final voting day is Tuesday) is surely going to be minimal among those who actually pay much attention to the paper. Or what’s been written recently about it. What may be larger are the questions growing about just what’s going on at the paper.

The impact it presumably hopes to have is what’s stated in the paper’s editorials opposing passage of the two measures. In the last legislative session the Assembly passed tax measures increasing the marginal tax rates on individuals with income over $125,000 a year (or $250,000 for a household), alongside a tax cut for some lower-income people, and a measure increasing the corporate income tax rate and minimum payments for some (not all) corporations. These have been challenged in the two referenda; a yes vote sustains the legislature’s actions, and a no vote throws them out. The Oregonian on January 4 editorialized for a “no” vote, and reiterated the view since. “The Legislature can do better,” it said.

That would seem to be that – newspapers take such positions all the time – except this time for a mass of complicating factors.

One is that the paper didn’t have such a big problem with the tax increases last year, when they were passed. Editorially, it was not thrilled (like many others, there seemed a preference toward making the increases temporary), but it was generally supportive. Last June 11, it said that “You shouldn’t raise taxes in a recession. But you don’t close schools, boot thousands of students from universities and gut your public safety system in a recession, either. In a state that has little savings, it was one or the other, and the Democratic majority made the right choice.” As for the idea that in the upcoming February legislative session lawmakers might simply adjust the tax package, the Oregonian opined on September 21, “after a brutal and expensive battle leading up to a vote – and at the start of an election year – does anyone really believe that lawmakers will, or even should, tinker with a tax package that voters have either approved or rejected?”

Considering that the Oregonian now apparently thinks just that, you have to wonder what changed.

There’s a good deal more.

Just about every one of these editorials, including one today, has been counter-pointed by a column from David Sarasohn, an associate editor and editorial writer, who has argued exactly the opposite of the current view (though along the lines of last year’s view). That’s not unprecedented, but the series of edits v. columns is certainly unusual. (One is here, but today’s barbed column – “If measures go down, don’t look for safety net” – doesn’t seem to be on line though it was in print.)

Then there’s the spadea.

We call it a “wraparound,” which may be what most people do: A sheet of newsprint that wraps around the front section of a newspaper, covering about the left half of the front page – a sheet which has the newspaper’s flag at the top but otherwise is advertising space. Prime advertising space, and expensive to buy. You can see why a newspaper would want to offer it, and there are worse ways for a newspaper to bring in money. The Oregonian has offered them for a few months. From a reader’s standpoint, most commercial ads in a spadea/wraparound are quickly distinguishable by the eye from regular editorial contender.

Political ads (even with a “paid advertisement” disclaimer at the top) are less easily distinguishable, which is probably why the newspaper’s ad department had a policy of rejecting political spadea.

“Had” is the key word. The blog Oregon Media Central, which has an excellent piece on the O’s spadea, said last week that “Pat McCormick, spokesperson for Oregonians Against Job-Killing Taxes, says his organization inquired about the spadea before The Oregonian’s January 4 ‘vote no’ editorial. At the time, however, the paper’s advertising department told them that The Oregonian did not accept political ads in the spadea format. After the editorial, McCormick says lobbyist Mark Nelson [working for the “no” campaign”] had the campaign’s media-buying firm make another effort to secure the spadea, which they were successful at doing.”

New publisher Chris Anderson (hired last fall) said that the decision to allow political spadea was made last December, before a decision on 66/67, and said he hadn’t been aware of a policy not to accept political spadea. OMC quoted the paper’s ad director, however, said that he personally had imposed such a policy because “a political ad might take advantage of the placement and make it look like it’s a newspaper statement.”

On Saturday, after a string of “no” spadea, the 66/67 “yes” forces got theirs (there is some question about whether they had sought to buy during the batch of “no” sheets). It used the opportunity to point out the difference in editorial stance, between now and then. On Sunday, the paper’s lead editorial functioned largely as a rebuttal to that spadea. And that editorial was in effect rebutted by Sarasohn’s column.

And there was another response of sorts from publisher Anderson, in which he said he isn’t dictating editorial policy. He concluded, “So, in a nutshell, the editorial positions of The Oregonian stem from good conversation among those folks closest to formulating them. I always reserve the right as the publisher to determine our editorial position, but it hasn’t happened yet – and I doubt it will ever happen that I’ll overrule a strong consensus among the editorial board members.” (Anderson’s column did not mention at all the concurrent, and equally interesting, flap over the spadea.)

Newspaper publishers generally reserve the right to set an editorial position – that normally goes with the position, though wise publishers with good editorial boards usually avoid imposing their views too heavily. Did Anderson do that? As a matter of resume, Anderson’s previous job was publisher and CEO of the Orange County Register, which has historically been notable for its conservative and libertarian editorial views; liberals or moderates need not apply for the job of publisher of the OCR. Something changed at the Oregonian since last fall as regards 66 and 67; the measures themselves, and the circumstances surrounding them, did not. On the other hand, Anderson says he was not party to the editorial action.

Keep watching. This story isn’t over yet.

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When Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter delivered his budget a couple of weeks ago, he told the legislature that he proposed some major changes in some smaller agencies. The big raw dollar cuts may have come in places like public schools and colleges and universities, but he proposed what amounted to elimination of a number of others.

Operations of the Department of Parks and Recreation, he said, should be moved to the Department of Lands and some registration activities to the Department of Fish & Game.

And he proposed a “Four‐year phase out of General Fund” – meaning that money other other than state funds would have to be found to maintain current operations – for Idaho Public Television, the Human Rights Commission, the Hispanic Commission, the Independent Living Council, the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Council and the Digital Learning Academy.

He also said, as he has in budget matters before, that he’s open to legislative alternatives. Two weeks on, looks like he’ll have to be open to alternatives: Most of those slash-outs themselves look headed to the trash heap. Some of that is because these programs turn out to have actual supporters around the state. But part of it is because someone in the Otter Administration seems not to have done their homework.

The Department of Parks & Recreation, for example, has reasons for existence that can’t simply be reorganized away. It was created in the early 60’s to meet the terms of a massive gift to the state by the Harriman family – the Harriman park in Fremont County, possibly the finest of the state parks. The Harrimans insisted on a specific kind of professional management of the land, and Governor Robert Smylie rammed through the new parks department to meet the terms. The state has gotten other gifts through the years too under the assumption that a professional parks department – not a lands department, which has a valid but different sort of mission – would take charge of them. Remove the parks department, and the Harriman state park is put into risk.

After much discussion of all this, Otter on Friday appears to have backed off the proposal, instead settling for a package of other parks-related cuts and fundraising. He acknowledged the mistake, explicitly: “The whole idea that we were going to eliminate the parks department was dead wrong.”

Others will be hard to do away with, too.

In a state as far-flung as Idaho, public television has a real constituency. While some legislators have over the years had squabbles with “government television,” more than a few legislators like it, not least because it provides a central electronic link with legislative sessions and coverage and their constituents.

In many cases, it is conservative rural legislators most ready to cut budgets. In this case, as the Associated Press notes, “the 45-year-old network would likely trim broadcasts that now reach 300,000 people weekly to only Idaho’s most populous areas, as 41 of 42 translators that broadcast seven channels to far-flung regions are dismantled . . . Moscow and Pocatello studios would be shuttered; equipment that broadcasts the Idaho Legislature would go dark.”

That AP report, you’ll notes, appeared in the Washington Post; and a slash of this magnitude of Idaho Public Television would be national news, and not the kind Idaho should want as it tries to attract outside money and business.

A similar point applies to the Human Rights Commission, which works in an area where Idaho’s reputation – many around the country still know it (or think they do) best as a haven for Aryans – is shakiest. The Twin Falls Times News summarized it neatly in an editorial: “We can see the headlines across the country now: ‘Idaho joins Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi in nixing rights commission.’” The idea of that has to seriously worry Idaho business leaders, and those tasked with encouraging them to come to the Gem State.

Now: Suppose massive efforts save the parks department, public television and the rights commission. And then suppose the Hispanic Commission is nonetheless axed. How do you think that will look?

The associated factor many legislators may be considering here, as well, is that these agencies (even parks) are tiny slivers of the state budget – even total wipeouts do only very, very little to balance the budget. Keep them all, and the admittedly serious revenue problem really isn’t very much worse.

Of course, there will remain the big question of: What do you cut? Since revenue increases are, this being Idaho, not on the table . . .

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