Taxing for Taxing's Sake

What kind of small-government guy is Butch Otter?

A few days ago, Butch Otter told the Idaho Statesman that highway funding concerns necessitate an extra $200 million in tax increases. "Folks, I'm sorry, but we've got to have it," he says.

Wait a minute, don't we have $282 million moldering away in "rainy day" funds right now?

Didn't we have a $200 million surplus?

Couldn't we save $15 million a year by privatizing the Idaho liquor industry, and use that on highways?

We don't have to have it, especially in light of the 20 percent sales tax increase intended to offset property taxes (Note to Jim Risch: it didn't work). We have the means to do address our highway issues now without raising taxes. C'mon, work with us people.

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rainy day

Well, given that 2007-2008 is going to have a major chunk taken out of revenues due to dropping Idaho wages, I don't see how much of that fund is going to be available after too much longer.

I think it's great that the state has money in the bank. Who knows what kind of freaky lawsuits they'll have to protect themselves from, and in the past they've had to settle due to a lack of funds.

Speaking of Revenues

One can't very well raise taxes while overall income is going down and still claim to be "small government" with a straight face. Idaho needs to find more and better ways to create wealth, period. That right there is the single most important issue in the state, and something both the public and private sectors need to make a top priority.

Immediate needs

I agree that small government conservatives should find issue with a rapid increase in taxes due to poor revenue generation. However, I've been saying that this was a severe likelihood for Idaho, given the disrespect for science and technology, as well as the limited growth that the state is allowing due to finite resources, mainly water.

I don't have a solution, but I'm also not for ruling out income tax increases. Increasing business generated revenue on short notice doesn't happen, it takes a long time to make it work. However, a raised tax rarely ever goes away. I can only hope that there are enough small government conservatives that they work hard to find an appropriate compromise for Idaho's future.