Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts published in “Day: March 13, 2014”

Rusche on priorities

ridenbaugh Northwest

An opinion piece from Idaho State Representative John Rusche, D-Lewiston, the House minority leader, reflecting on this year's legislative session.

No Idaho parent asked me to come to this Legislature and underfund Idaho’s public education system. That, however, is the action endorsed last week by the House of Representatives when the majority party passed a $126 million tax cut for businesses and the wealthy.

Bills like this one make it hard for me to go home to my constituents and tell them that my peers in the majority party share their values of opportunity and educational success. It is hard for me to offer Idaho
families hope that Idaho’s elected leaders are prepared to bridge the gap between promises and actions.

After 20 years of this kind of flawed policy, Idaho ranks 50Eh in family wages, first in percentage of minimum wage jobs and near-last in per student investment.

These poor outcomes are interrelated. These outcomes result from a generation of generous tax cuts to the rich while cutting investment in our children’s future. Even businesses that might desire such a tax reduction would be loathe to seek it at the expense of a sound public education system.

Two problems I see with this bill (H 548). First, it does not reflect the wishes of ldahoans. Second, it ignores the evidence of the Majority’s past tax policy.

As of now, 94 out of the state’s 115 school districts must pass supplement levies simply to keep the lights on. Just 15 years ago, only 41 districts need such levies. In the intervening time, Idaho slashed its ability to raise money for education by cutting taxes for the rich. What happens if there is another $126 million removed and unavailable?

Local taxpayers took on ever increasing tax burdens. Why? Idaho families never said they wanted to see the opportunities for their children diminish. Twenty years of failed policy has led to many school
districts with 4-day school weeks, reduction in extracurriculars and more crowded classrooms.

So, if the Legislature continues to short public schools, the local school districts ask to raise property taxes to keep operating. Are parents and communities going to choose to limit their children’s potential? If they have a choice, none will do it. So in elections, the incumbent legislators brag that they are “cutting taxes”. And are “fiscal conservatives”. They have been playing and, it appears, continue to want to play, “hide the ball” and shift financial responsibility to local property taxes. Is that making education
a priority? (more…)

Senator sock puppet

rainey BARRETT


Damned near impossible to turn on your old HDTV these days without seeing the master political ventriloquist and his sock puppet - McCain and Graham. Often, McCain is out of the picture so you don’t see his lips move. But ol’ Lindsey has his mouth flapping aplenty, mimicking the words of a former national hero that - as Dangerfield used to say - “can’t get no respect.” Especially in Arizona.

Public Policy Polling - one of the most reputable question-asking outfits on the planet - queried about a thousand Arizonans in recent days. Bottom line: McCain has a 55% disapproval rating around the homestead. PPP says he’s now “the least popular senator in the country.” Take that, Ted Cruz! Quite a come-down from years back when the Navy war hero - and former North Vietnamese POW - came down the gangplank and decided to turn his military celebrity into a career in public office. But that’s where he is today.

Perhaps it’s ironic that sock puppet Graham is also a guy with some military experience. Of course, his is more paperwork and less suffering. Depending on how you feel about lawyers. Graham has a combination of active and reserve USAF and even had G. Bush the younger prominently pin on his eagles sometime ago. But - there IS that one part of his resume that always gives readers pause.

Graham apparently believes he spent some of his military time in “confinement,” too. As a USAF attorney. In his resume, he points proudly to his “service in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.” He does so as some who served at the same time point out Graham never left South Carolina during those campaigns. When challenged, Graham said he never meant to mislead - he was just “in uniform” during those years. Meaning if you and I were in the military in Oregon at the same time, we’d be entitled to wear the same ribbons even if we, too, didn’t go. How do you suppose those that went and ducked the IED’s feel about that?

With the advent of the Obama presidency, McCain became one of the most vocal in the Republican pantheon with repeated - and often nutty - criticism of anything Obama. Like a stopped clock that can be right twice a day, McCain sometimes latched onto something legitimate. Unfortunately, like that broken timepiece, he was wrong a lot of the time, too.

McCain is a master junketeer. Wherever an internal political struggle turns to violence, there he is. He’s slept in a lot of beds on former Soviet real estate and lent his loud support to nearly all. “We are all Georgians,” he pledged to citizens of that breakaway nation when Russians were pounding on the Georgian door. He will, I’m certain, show up in Crimea in a few days - promising “We’re all Crimeans.” (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Guns on campus bill signed (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune, TF Times News)
Kuna schools, levy-less, will see reductions (Boise Statesman)
Wesden draws Troupis challenge (Boise Statesman)
Moscow has water planning concerns (Moscw News)
Canyon considers moving fair site (Nampa Press Tribune)
Beer prices draw lawsuit for Boise arena (Nampa Press Tribune, Pocatello Journal)
Filer dog owner sues police over shooting (Pocatello Journal)
Another mehaload route (Hwy 200) considered (Sandpoint Bee)
TF Council still seeks canyon leap role (TF Times News)
School board member quits at Gooding (TF Times News)

Possible suit over Willamette River waste (Corvallis Gazette Times)
March against racism at OSU (Corvallis Gazette Times)
Could be several pot ballot issues (Medford Tribune, Corvallis Gazette Times, KF Herald & News, Pendleton East Oregonian)
Criticism over new Eugene homeless area (Eugene Register Guard)
KF Habitat for Humanity ReStore closes (KF Herald & News)
Looking at local government primaries (Medford Tribune, Ashland Tidings)
Ashland pot dispensaries open (Ashland Tidings)
GMO bsllot issue finances (Medford Tribune)
Closed Albertsons hopes to sublet (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Blue Mountain forest plan released (Pendleton East Oregonian)
Federal criticisms of Cover Oregon (Portland Oregonian)
Kitzhaber moves to stop food stamp cuts (Portland Oregonian)
More service planned at TriMet (Portland Oregonian)
Salem-Keizer superintendent search still on (Salem Statesman Journal)

Legislature faces budget deadline (Everett Herald)
New site proposed by DOE for Hanford (Kennewick Herald)
State transportation deal collapses (Longview News)
Fiber optic provider sold to WaveDivision (Port Angeles News)
Vashon site may become 'weed island' (Seattle Times)
Study: No business effect on higher min wage (Seattle Times)
Spokane gets longer school days (Spokane Spokesman)
On-time end for legislature predicted (Tacoma News Tribune, Yakima Herald Republic)
Still working on Amtrak station remodel (Tacoma News Tribune)
Leavitt saddened by CRC collapse (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima job picture improves (Yakima Herald Republic)
Costs hurt changes for commuter bus route (Yakima Herald Republic)