“My friends, I say again: Idaho is stronger and more economically diverse than ever,” Gov. Butch Otter told lawmakers today in his State of the State message. “Our unemployment rate is near a record low. Wages are on the rise. Whole industry sectors are emerging and growing, stretching our taxpayer resources to keep up with workforce demands. But we are sustainably and responsibly investing in K-through-Career education and training without raising taxes.”
He said, “We will never mortgage our future by throwing money at business attraction like some other states. But with your support, we now have targeted, performance-based incentives that work. They add to an economic development portfolio that includes inexpensive renewable power, a great work ethic and among the most stable, business-friendly tax and regulatory climates in the country. I call that real progress,” he said to applause.
Otter said it’s “really too bad” that the word “progress has “been so thoroughly high-jacked in today’s political lexicon,” and has become synonymous with “bigger and more intrusive government – the nanny state.”
“It’s true that despite our best efforts and firmest resolve, government gets bigger,” Otter said. “That’s a function of a growing population, rising public expectations, more complex social realities, and a changing dynamic between our public and private sectors. But we all know that making government bigger often makes fulfilling its most necessary and proper functions less focused and less effective. More importantly, making government bigger without also making it better can be a barrier to real progress for our citizens – for individual Idahoans.”
He said, “Progress makes a comeback when people start believing again – believing in their own abilities; believing that they can make a difference; and believing that government alone is not, never has been and never will be the answer. Progress makes a comeback when people start taking personal responsibility for moving it forward as best they can.”
Otter continued, “Because of the work we have done over more than a decade, we have never been readier for the challenges and opportunities ahead. The commonsense conservative policies advanced by this body – and by us together – have been essential to Idaho’s progress toward better enabling our citizens to become the architects of their own destiny rather than surrendering to the siren song of entitlement.”