The pressing issue is property tax relief and ensuring a fair tax system in Idaho. Gov. Risch's plan is not a plan for Idaho because it was not drafted with Idaho as a partner. Risch and his special interests in Boise drafted it in secret, and they plan to pass it quickly and without public input.
Legislation pandering to special interest groups has grave long-term repercussions for Idaho. In the heat of this summer's property tax quagmire, the Republican leaders are still bogged down with unsustainable Band-Aid proposals that cater to special interest groups rather than responding to the most in need. It has been reported that 95 percent of Idaho families will not see a tax break, but rather see a net increase in their taxes provided the Republican plan is passed. It's a tax shift, not real tax relief.
The Republican leadership is stuck in the philosophy that more tax cuts to corporate interests, developers and out-of-state landowners are better for Idaho and will promote growth -- the very unsustainable growth that is fueling escalating property tax values, overwhelming our infrastructure and jeopardizing the families of this state.
The Democratic plan for Idaho ought to be considered if the special session is really about the best action for Idaho concerning property taxes.
Steven Foxx & r & Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
A Smorgasbord & r & Paul Haeder's story, "Of Saguaros and Ponderosas," (8/10/06 and 8/17/06) was an evocative and provocative piece. Drawing on what looks on the surface to be a tenuous connection between other mid-size Western cities such as Billings, Flagstaff, Tucson and Salt Lake City, Haeder creates a veritable smorgasbord for thought. There is definitely a strong connection between our looming water crisis and the already present water crisis of many Western cities.
But I especially want to mention his paragraph beginning with a reference to Wallace Stegner. Haeder says, "Whether we are conceived and birthed in a place or if we stumble upon it, we need to make a deep connection to it as both a landscape and place of community. It can be made a lasting place only through a 'slow accrual, like a coral reef,' of meaningful decisions." I haven't read enough Stegner to know if Haeder is paraphrasing him or if these are for the most part Paul's words, but I do know it impressed me as one of the most beautiful statements I've read in a long time.
Judy Noll & r & Spokane, Wash.