A review of the last Idaho legislative session from Idaho Democratic Chair Larry Kenck.
The 2013 Idaho Legislature exceeded expectations. By that measure, it succeeded. Unfortunately, our expectations are so low for this annual GOP-controlled event that we can call it a success if they don’t accidentally burn down the Capitol.
Let’s look at how they exceeded our expectations.
In December, Idaho’s wealthiest corporate interests had convinced everyone that a $140 million tax shift from big business to homeowners was a virtual certainty. Counties, cities, schools and Idaho Democrats crunched the numbers, rallied, and got the word out. In the end, small and medium-sized businesses saw their personal business property taxes cut without severely harming communities.
That was certainly better than we expected.
The Legislature also birthed a small group of Republicans who stood up to rightwing radicals who are still fighting the Affordable Care Act. This minority of the majority joined Idaho Democrats to help create a state-run health insurance exchange, benefiting consumers and giving Idaho control over insurance options.
That small triumph for moderation was unexpected.
Of course, we always expect some truly awful ideas to emerge from the GOP fringe. And, I suppose it’s fair to credit GOP leaders, along with Idaho Democrats, for killing some terrible legislation. (more…)