Posts tagged: Marty Trillhaase
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune gives Jeers to …
” … Congressman Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. He has co-sponsored Georgia Rep. Tom Graves' threat to essentially shut down the government unless Obamacare is blocked. 'If the House passes it and the Senate rejects it, it will be the Senate that's responsible for shutting down the government,' Labrador says. He's delusional. Labrador and his 80 fire-breathing Tea Party colleagues — including Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — are pushing more level-headed Republicans — including Idaho's Mike Simpson and Washington's Cathy McMorris Rodgers — toward what a spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., calls 'a Washington gimmick to advance funding goals'/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Any Idaho school district teetering toward financial distress is a concern for all. But what happens in Nampa — Idaho's third-largest school system - has the potential of swamping the rest of the state. That district is undergoing wave after wave of seemingly intractable maladies. Last August, the district discovered it has double-counted federal and state revenues - putting it $2.3 million behind. A month later, the deficit deepened to $4.3 million. New Superintendent Thomas Michaelson, brought in to fix the mess, reported in March the situation was even worse - now the district was $5.1 million short. Plus it turned out $1.2 million that was supposed to be repaying bonds had gone into covering ordinary bills and had to be repaid/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: And Butch plans to hold onto an approximate $162M for dear life? Maybe he should save some of Idaho's school district that are in dire straits. Thoughts?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, opinionator Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune give Jeers to …
… Idaho Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. When it's time to dole out cash to his corporate cronies via tax cuts, the governor is a spendthrift. But when it comes to helping out the schools, the governor spontaneously becomes a tightwad. The steadily improving economy has yielded Idaho a bonus. By the time lawmakers meet in January, former Chief Economist Mike Ferguson expects they'll have an extra $162 million. Not so fast, Otter says. “There's no reason to go back to the old way of doing things; because we got a little money, let's spend it,” Otter told the Idaho Statesman's editorial board. Otter is engaging in historical revisionism here/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is Gov. Otter's stand on keeping a tight rein on a $162M budget surplus, when schools are struggling financially, a responsible position?
In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune cheers … to Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg: “He didn't just block Sen. Bob Nonini's barely concealed ploy to spend tax dollars on religious schools. Hill drove a stake through its heart. Nonini was engineering an end run around Idaho's constitutional ban against using public dollars for religious instruction. He suggested giving taxpayers a credit when they contribute toward private school student scholarships. Estimated cost: $10 million. Not so fast, said Hill. When he's not running the state Senate, Hill is a CPA. Said Hill: For every $100 contributed to a scholarship, the taxpayer would net “at least $107” and the state would pay another 10 percent for administrative costs. Down Nonini's bill went on a 7-2 Senate tax committee vote/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Huckleberries is trying to figure out how someone as opposed to public education as Sen. Nonini could be appointed first to chair the House Ed Committee & now a member of the Senate Ed Committee? Anyone?
Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune cautions voters about the constitutional amendment guaranteeing Idahoans the right to hunt, fish & trap:
Sure, the proposed amendment marks all the appropriate boxes. The right to hunt, fish or trap does not trump private property rights. No trespassing is allowed. Water rights are preserved. The Legislature retains control over fish and game laws. And Idaho Fish and Game can suspend or revoke the hunting, fishing or trapping license of anyone who violates its rules.But how do you license a constitutional right? Who's to say when a state regulation or law infringes on somebody's constitutional right to hunt, fish or trap? Do you have a right to hunt, fish or trap if you can't afford the license and tags? What's the point of a constitutional right to hunt if seasons and zones are tightened down to the point that you're frozen out? Presumably the courts would resolve these questions as the amendment's authors anticipate - but maybe they won't. For every 10,000 Idahoans who respect a balance among competing rights and interests, there's a (Rex) Rammell looking for every advantage. So, why even raise this uncertainty? More here.
Question: Do you plan to vote for/against this constitutional amendment?
JEERS … to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He just called the Gem State a collection of moochers, victims and tax dodgers. At a fundraiser held at businessman Marc Leder's home at Boca Raton, Fla., Romney said: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That's an entitlement. And the governments should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. … My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” That's you, Idaho — overflowing with low-wage jobs and oozing with needs for “health care, food, housing, you-name-it”/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
In a church pew, faith is divine. But is it any way to run a state? For almost two years, from Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter on down, it was an article of faith that national health care reform - Obamacare - would be struck down as unconstitutional. So instead of preparing for its implementation in 2014, Idaho's leaders fought it. They resisted it. They ignored it. With the rhetoric of death squads and states rights ringing in their ears, Otter and the GOP rode to victory in the 2010 election. The following year, the Idaho Legislature flirted with the flammable mixture of defiance and anarchy - masquerading under the dubious principle of nullification. Otter danced right up to the edge of violating the U.S. Constitution, then vetoed a watered-down nullification bill and embodied most of its contents in an executive order/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Should the Should Butch Otter and the past to Idaho Legislatures have taken Obamacare more seriously?
The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry does not speak for you or even Idaho's mom and pop businesses. Manipulating its strings are what Teddy Roosevelt might call Idaho's malefactors of great wealth: Clearwater Paper, Idaho Forest Group, Idaho Power Co., Simplot, Melaleuca, Micron and Union Pacific Railroad. When IACI bemoans the personal property tax paid upon equipment, it is not talking about pens, paper, desks and copying machines. It is describing huge, expensive industrial machinery, power generators, pipelines and railroad tracks. Some high-minded purpose, such as eliminating an onerous method of taxation, is not motivating IACI's pitch for repealing that tax. What you're seeing on full display is greed in its purest form. Should IACI win, you and your children will lose/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Logo from IACI Web site)
Question: Do you consider IACI (Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry) to be a malefactor dedicated to opposing Idaho's common good?
In an editorial entitled “For Idaho GOP, integrity means going along,” Marty Trillhaase (pictured) of the Lewiston Tribune writes: “You know Idaho's dominant political party is having a bad day when its platform reads like it was written by people who spend too much time with their cats, watching Fox News and not getting enough fresh air. Now these several hundred political shut-ins want to set policy for the rest of us. Even worse, a lot of Republicans are too timid to stand up to them.” (BTW, I really like that line about cats.) Marty then goes on to break down the foolishness embedded in the Idaho Republican Party platform. Full editorial here.
Question: Have you ever studied the Idaho Republican Party platform to see whether you agree with it?
JEERS … to U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson, both R-Idaho. The Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 may be just sloppily drafted. Or the measure - which all three Republicans joined in passing Tuesday by a 274-146 vote — might deliberately expose the nation's wilderness lands to all-terrain vehicles, off-road traffic, motor boats and aircraft, as well as road-building, logging and mining. Ostensibly, it's about preserving the rights of hunters, anglers and recreationists - and putting endangered Democrats, such as Montana Sen. Jon Tester, on the wrong side of a National Rifle Association priority. The Wilderness Society is worried the bill seems to elevate rights of motorized recreationists, loggers and miners ahead of the wilderness values. If it were just the environmentalists saying so, you might dismiss it/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Do you think the Sportsmen's Heritage Act of 2012 compromised our national wilderness?
JEERS … to state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (pictured), R-Cottonwood. She's unhappy that Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter is leading a trade delegation to China. Nuxoll doesn't want Otter attracting Chinese investment to the Gem State. “People are still concerned about the China issue,” she said. “They do not share the same principles and values we do.” OK, take a breath, Sen. Nuxoll, and then do some homework. The 15 members of this delegation picked the site based on their own interests. They're free to travel to China - or anywhere else - on their own at any time. Many already have. Bringing the state's highest elected official along can open some doors, however/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here (4th item).
Question: Anyone out there still paranoid about Chinese investment in Idaho?
CHEERS … to Congressman Raul Labrador (pictured), R-Idaho. Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Labrador took the path not typically traveled by an American politician of either party: He complained about religious persecution against Muslims. What triggered the discussion was the old canard that President Obama is a Muslim. “You know, I personally don't believe he's a Muslim,” Labrador said. “He has told us that he's a Christian and I believe him. … But it wouldn't matter if he is. …What we need to look at is the policies. … It's not what his religion is.” What makes that statement remarkable is how few people in public life are willing to say that. The last one was former Secretary of State Colin Powell/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: What do you think of Congressman Labrador's stand?
If the pundits are right, Obamacare is finished. Three days of watching the conservative wing of the U.S. Supreme Court has them convinced the justices will strike down as unconstitutional the law's central feature - mandating people to buy health insurance - and potentially the entire health care reform package. Let the celebrations in Boise begin. Led by Gov. C. L. (Butch) Otter, the state's GOP leadership jumped aboard challenging health care reform in the courts. Then they rode the issue to a landslide re-election in 2010. Next they flirted with nullifying the act and violating the U.S. Constitution. They even refused $20 million in federal funds to launch state-based health insurance exchanges under the act, leaving individuals, businesses and health care providers subject to the whims of a federally operated exchange. No collection of state politicians was more determined to slay this federal dragon With them on the verge of prevailing, now seems a good time to ask: What's Plan B?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: What do you think is Butch Otter's Plan B?
In an editorial in the Lewiston Tribune this morning, opinionator Marty Trillhaase writes that individuals opposed to Superintendent Tom Luna's education reforms already have won the first round. Whether or not referendums against those reforms pass this November, Trillhaase writes that the 2012 Idaho Legislature gave opponents most of what they wanted. “Instead of raiding the teacher salary account to advance LunaTech's aims, lawmakers agreed to steer any additional money they receive each year toward those programs. All of which is fine if the state is in clover. But the guaranteed future flow of state funds into online instruction has been stripped away. When Idaho hits another rough patch, how will lawmakers find money to continue LunaTech? Do they cut something else? Ignore demands from rising Medicaid or prison case loads? Raise taxes? Raid the teacher salary account once again?” More here.
Question: Did Luna “reforms” die quietly while we weren't watching?
JEERS … to Sen. Nicole LeFavour, D-Boise. Idaho's only openly gay legislator, LeFavour has championed extending protection under Idaho's Human Rights Act to gays, lesbians and transgender people. As a Christmas present, LeFavour distributed DVD copies of “Brokeback Mountain” to 60 lawmakers at their homes. Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d'Alene, took offense. Imagine returning from a St. Patrick's Day celebration to find a copy of “Clean and Sober” waiting for you. Or after participating in a Planned Parenthood rally, you discover an audio set of “Rush Limbaugh's Greatest Hits” at your door. LeFavour simply went too far/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (AP photo: Nicole LeFavour giving her farewell speech to Idaho Senate Thursday)
On the same day state Sen. Monty Pearce (pictured), R-New Plymouth, defended himself against charges of lining his pockets in office, the state got a near-failing score on a national measure of corruption. Think there's a connection? Pearce, a 14-year legislative veteran, is at the vortex of efforts to open Idaho to oil and natural gas development. As chairman of the Senate Resources and Conservation Committee, Pearce oversaw Senate passage of bills that updated the state's oil and gas regulatory framework - without which the fledgling industry in Pearce's backyard would be stalled. The panel also refused to impose more stringent controls on fracking and endorsed stripping counties and cities of their ability to stop or influence oil and gas development in their jurisdictions. All that time, Pearce was sitting on a secret: On Nov. 4, he signed a lease with Snake River Oil and Gas, making him a partner with one of the big players behind the legislation/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Does Idaho deserve a D-minus for government corruption risk?
Idaho's primary is two months away. The general election is eight months off. Yet the just-closed candidate filing all but completes the Idaho Republican Party's purge of its moderates in the state Senate. Conservative excess once restrained by pragmatism will find its fullest expression yet in the 2013 Idaho Legislature. The only question now is who — if anyone — will rise to check it. For some time, the Idaho House has been a hotbed of right-wing radicalism, irresponsibly passing bills it knew — or counted on — the Senate would reject. If the U.S. Constitution could not discipline the House against attempts to defy the federal health reform act, the Senate could. If House members insisted upon enabling college students to carry concealed pistols into classrooms, dormitories and sporting events, the Senate would play the grown-up and say no. … Little by little, however, the moderate majority in the Senate eroded. It may have no more than a two — or even one — vote margin/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Trillhaase asks a good question: Who — if anyone — will rise to check the right-wing radicalism that has taken over the Idaho Republican Party?
Newly minted teachers: Bring your degree to Idaho's classrooms. Spend a couple of years here. Gain some experience. Then leave. Look for a state that values you and your profession.Or find something else to do. If you don't know this already, pay attention to the Legislature's public school blueprint. It increases the minimum salary for starting teachers by $500 to $30,500. Actually, that's just making up for lost ground. Before the Great Recession kicked in, Idaho insisted on paying all new recruits $31,750. It got as low as $29,655 in the 2010-2011 school year. That had better be enough, for awhile.Under Idaho's pay grid, it may be eight years before you're entitled to more. In fact, 31 percent of Idaho's teachers are in the same fix - caught in a compensation package twilight zone/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Has Idaho become a training ground for teachers, who will jump to other states for better pay?
JEERS … to Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway (pictured), R-Terreton. Along with using dogs and sheep as bait, Siddoway sought to give ranchers a free hand to kill wolves for 36 hours after an attack. After that, they'd need an Idaho Fish and Game permit. He also wanted to give ranchers authority to shoot wolves from an aircraft. Do that, his critics said, and you hand U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy an excuse to restore federal endangered species protection to Idaho's wolves. Molloy is no fan of the state program or the congressional rider U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, and U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., passed to bring it about.Countered Siddoway, “The argument that this would jeopardize delisting is wrong.” Siddoway should know better. He's a former Idaho Fish and Game Commission member and has six years in the Senate under his belt/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Marty's full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Would Idaho lawmakers be wise at this point to leave wolf legislation alone for awhile?
Jeers … to Idaho state Treasurer Ron Crane. Crane spends lavishly. He's above the rules. He's entitled to live better than the taxpayers who cover his $93,756 salary. If he hasn't crossed ethical boundaries, he's getting awfully close. Yet voters trust this man to fly to New York City and handle hundreds of million of dollars? Here's what a legislative audit of Crane's affairs reports: Crane expects the taxpayer to buy his gas when he commutes between his Nampa home and Boise. No problem, says Canyon County Prosecutor Bryan Taylor. After auditors referred the case to Taylor, he concluded state travel policies - which bar state employees from charging taxpayers for commuting costs — don't apply to elected officials. That's only an interpretation. Even if Crane's behavior is legal, fleecing the taxpayers at the gas pump isn't right, nor is it common/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. Complete Cheers & Jeers column here.
Question: Will recent controversies involving state Treasurer Ron Crane cause you to support another candidate when/if he runs for re-election?