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Posts published in “Day: September 1, 2022”

Frame

schmidt

Our Governor is exercising his Constitutional power to call the legislature into session next week to pass one bill. He’s aiming for two birds with one stone.

First, he’s undercutting the Reclaim Idaho initiative that qualified for the ballot this November. It would have raised taxes on corporations and high-income folks to pay for money for schools. The initiative was drafted before Idaho accumulated a multibillion-dollar surplus.

If I was Luke Mayville, one of the Reclaim founders who has organized and pushed this effort, I’d be pretty happy to have the attention of the sitting governor, even if he is aiming rocks at you.

When the special session passes the governor’s bill after Labor Day it will make the initiative moot, should it pass in November. Still, all that effort to collect signatures showed there was strong sentiment to support schools. Everybody is praising the move. Win, win, I guess.

At least this way, unlike the Medicaid Expansion effort that Reclaim pushed and won at the polls a few years back, the legislature won’t feel steamrolled. That petulant bitterness led to a whole year or two of acrimony and efforts to revise the initiative process as well as the law passed by the voters. Isn’t it good politics to get people to agree?

Neither the Reclaim initiative or the governor’s bill address one of the main concerns of voters, high property taxes. But both could claim an indirect effect. If schools get more money from the state, whether from new taxes or the huge surplus littering the Treasury floors, they might lower their levy asks across the state. That could have an indirect effect on property taxes. Local school districts and voters will need to make that decision.

But the second bird Brad is aiming at is also an initiative on the ballot this November. The Legislature wants the constitutional authority to call itself into session. They passed such a resolution, and the voters will get to decide whether they should have that power. Maybe by demonstrating good governance, Governor Little can nip that sentiment in the bud. Or am I reading too much into this simple special session bill?

It's interesting that one part of the special session bill will be a request for an advisory vote on this bill. So, the legislature will pass the special session bill, and Governor Little will sign the bill to put another question before the voters come November.

Brilliant. Add another confusing question to the November ballot, under all the judges we vote “yes” or “no” on, and all the new legislative races in the new districts we can’t recognize. Maybe this will finally answer the question of just how informed the electorate truly is.

It has long been theorized that the default action of voters when faced with too many questions is to just vote “no” on everything and turn in the ballot.

I don’t think that will happen. I’m a Pollyanna about the populace.

The final little bird that is not getting any rocks tossed at it, but actually some seeds tossed from our Governor, is all the exiting legislators who will get to vote in this special, but final session for them. Lots of sitting legislators either got redistricted and had to run against other incumbents or got taken out by Freedom Foundation opponents this last May Primary. Idaho’s legislature is changing, big time. So, this will get to be their final vote in office.

The Governor has framed this as a strong solution for a nagging problem. And, oh by the way, we get to lower income taxes and send out rebate checks too. It seems this special session can make everybody happy. Sometimes the frame really makes the picture beautiful.