We “punditry” types rely on words to praise or condemn when dealing with political, economic or related issues. The words and opinions come easier than facts and, too often, we throw the nouns and adjectives out there and walk away with few facts to support the opining.
But statistics - especially those compiled by people with a dedication to neutrality and letting the numbers speak for themselves - have garnered my respect over the years. While I don’t really understand how they do what they do, I’ve learned to appreciate those who work with numbers. Especially when their findings tend to support what many of us have said for a long, long time. These do.
Idaho is going to Hell in a handbasket.
Those are just my words again. But they’re based squarely on the findings of the Idaho Center For Fiscal Policy. A “gang that can shoot straight.”
Rather than go into all the messy numbers, here are just the headlines from the Center’s latest report.
“Idaho collects less in taxes than all but two other states.”
“Support for Idaho’s schools has been steadily decreasing and is unequal across school districts.”
“Idaho’s support for higher education has dropped sharply, leading to big increases in tuition and fees.”
“Idaho has steadily cut revenues since the late 1990's.”
“Idaho’s low and moderate income residents pay a larger share of their income in taxes than the highest earners”
“Idaho’s per capita income is lower than all but one state - Mississippi.”
Those are their clinical, statistical findings. And they form the factual basis for the words “Idaho: Hell in a handbasket”
To my mind, those six headlines tie together in an endless circle. You can enter the circle at any point and exit randomly. But the pattern of disintegration in Idaho’s economic conditions just goes on and on. Down and down. (more…)