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carlson CHRIS


Pope Benedict XVI should be commended for acknowledging he is not up to the demands of his job and is stepping down.

Governor C. L. “Butch” Otter should take a lesson and follow suit.

The Idaho “ship of state” is adrift with no firm hand on the tiller. There is no real captain, just a figurehead as wooden as the figureheads on the old sailing ships.

The evidence is abundant and appalling. Just a few of many examples:

· The Governor’s fiscally irresponsible support of an unfunded property tax shift that benefits only several major corporations that don’t need it. Follow the numbers carefully. There’s $140 million in “relief” which will come at the expense of smaller counties, school districts and other taxing districts.

The governor says the state will cover $90 million but that has to be new money coming out of the existing general fund which means there is a “bow wave” effect going through future budgets. Bottom line is there will be even less general fund dollars available for an already woefully underfunded commitment to public education.

Furthermore, school districts and other taxing districts providing basic needed services will have to seek replacement funding at the local level through more over-ride levies. Many Idahoans will get hit by another tax increase thanks to a governor and Republican legislators who look you in the eye and flat lie by saying with a straight face they once again did not vote to increase your taxes. Pure hogwash.

· After taking the correct step following the rejection by the voters of all the proposed Luna Law reforms by forming a commission to take a year and come up with a set of consensus based recommendations for the 2014 Legislature to consider, he sits idly by while “we-know-best” legislators draft bills implementing parts of the rejected laws.

His failure to defend his process is appalling. Long ago he should have had the leader of the “we-know-better-what’s-good-for-education” crowd, Senator John Goedde of Coeur d’Alene , down to his office and shown him what his veto stamp looks like.

· Failure by his staff to vett properly the nomination of Joan Hurlock is so indicative of sloth that it borders on sheer incompetence. But it is his staff and he has now been at it for seven years. Bottom line is no one did even the minimum of background checking. Losing a gubernatorial nomination is a clear sign of indifference.

· All the signs point towards a Republican Legislature once again rejecting a Republican governor’s single major issue he is asking the legislators to give him. A few years back it was the gas tax to help fund needed infrastructure improvements to Idaho ’s roads, bridges and highway. This time it is the state overseeing the health insurance exchange rather than punting to the Feds. Once again his party’s legislative leadership is going to hand him his head on a silver platter because they know they can get away with it.

· Despite his pledge that there will be no amendments to the 1995 Nuclear Waste agreement negotiated with the Federal government by Governor Phil Batt, he continues to allow his Commerce Director, Jeff Sayer, who he appointed to head up the LINE commission, to go around saying there may be circumstances that will warrant changes but such changes will be in Idaho’s best interests. Poppycock.

· He continues to raise money to pay off a $250,000 campaign debt, now down to $131,000, but fails to mention he is raising funds to pay off loans to himself. Want to wager that once he has raised the last $131,000 he will decide he is not going to seek a third term?

Admit the obvious, Governor. Step aside and let Brad Little demonstrate what a truly engaged governor can do.

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