Posts tagged: ” Wayne Hoffman
Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman is a stalwart defender of the private enterprise system. Government, he says, should not pick “which companies to help and force the rest of us to pay the bill. The government should leave the marketplace alone, and let companies prosper or fail on their own merits. “Except, of course, when it comes to the Idaho Freedom Foundation. As the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reported, IFF is organized under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3) - the same section utilized by charities. Anyone who contributes to a 501(c)(3) can deduct the donation from his income taxes. In exchange, a 501(c)(3) operates under restrictions. A big one in Hoffman's case involves lobbying. He's not supposed to do much of it. That's why Idaho's major lobbies settle for nonprofit status but don't offer their donors a tax deduction. Obviously, Hoffman is a lobbyist/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
All of this brings me to the story of Tayson Weeks, a 12-year-old Pocatello boy who has been targeted by state tax commission employees and told to remit the sales tax the government believes he owes for the sale of raspberries at his summertime roadside fruit stand. This is the same tax commission which, in 2010, attempted to shut down a Lewiston pumpkin stand operated by kids ages 4 and 6. Defenders of the tax commission will pound their chests and say nonsensical and thoughtless things like, “the law is the law and must be enforced at all costs.” Well, the law is stupid and its application is even dumber. There are thousands of businesses operating in Idaho and finite government bureaucrats to monitor them all. The state loses money every time it targets a child/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Should the Tax Commission leave Tayson and other juvenile entrepreneurs alone?
I don’t know whether Idaho’s public schools should be serving Greek yogurt or not. But I wonder if I’m the only one who views negatively the announcement this month that Idaho would get to be a pilot state for a federal program to serve Greek yogurt in school lunchrooms. U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo applauded loudly the decision from our federal overlords. “Our masters in the land of Washington, D.C., doth proclaim that Greek yogurt hence forth shall be served throughout the land. Huzzah!” Crapo said. All right, he didn’t actually say that. That’s just what I read him to say/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Do you have any problem with letting 'em eat yogurt?
The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) is flirting with the dangerous idea of backing Medicaid expansion. The organization hasn’t come out yet with an endorsement. Yet. At its conference in Coeur d’Alene in June, lawmakers got to hear a decidedly pro-expansion presentation. And IACI’s president, Alex LeBeau, recently told the media that expanding Medicaid will be a win for businesses that face up to $18.5 million in penalties if they don’t insure their employees—fines that are avoided if those employees are covered through Medicaid. “For us, it’s a business-numbers issue,” LaBeau said to the media. “It’s pretty clear from the information and the numbers that Medicaid expansion would save industry a lot of money.” It won’t/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Which side are you on in this debate?
If cleverness is a disease in politics, it’s endemic with some of the folks involved in implementing Gov. Butch Otter and Barrack Obama’s health insurance exchange. Exhibit A: The insurance exchange law passed by the Legislature and signed by Otter says “the exchange shall be financially self-supporting and shall not request any financial support from the state and shall not have the power to tax or encumber state assets.” So, you might wonder, how is it that the state Department of Health and Welfare managed to give nearly $400,000 to the insurance exchange to begin operating? Well, the key word, it seems, is “request.” The exchange didn’t “request” money (at least, perhaps, through official channels)/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Does Wayne Hoffman have a good point here?
I find Idaho columnist Chris Carlson to be a likable guy, and it’s easy to see why some of his more liberal allied-interests have been politically successful. But by golly, I have to disagree with him on some of the statements he wrote in his last column, which perpetuates some myths. Chris implies that Herbert Hoover embraced the free market at the onset of the Great Depression, leading the country deeper into economic despair and the eventual election of Franklin Roosevelt, whose Big Government plans saved the country and its economy. That’s just not so/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Who's correct?
The walking, talking embodiment of the mythical free market in Idaho today is Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. He called a few weeks ago and asked if we could get together and get acquainted while he was in the north country on other business. No harm in getting acquainted I thought, though for Wayne, there was some “harm” encountered. It seems the speeding ticket he received was because he was running late for our get together at an Irish Pub on Lake Drive in Coeur d’Alene. Though we are polar opposite on many things, there are some issues where we have commonality – government over-reaching and the public’s loss of trust in government “honesty” at all levels, for example. It was a pleasant enough discussion but when he used the phrase “free market” as in “we have to return to a true free market” I took strong exception/Chris Carlson, The Carlson Report. More here.
DFO: Make sure you read this one to the end. Chris saves some good insight for last few graphs.
Question: Do you believe in a mythical free market system, too?
In the 1990s, it wasn't uncommon for lawmakers to laud the tax collectors and auditors of the Idaho State Tax Commission. It is better to deal with the State Tax Commission, legislators would say, than the federal government and its Internal Revenue Service. That has changed, even reversed. Now, lawmakers openly talk about how the state’s tax commission is worse to deal with than the IRS, that the tax commission has become increasingly aggressive in its scrutiny of Idaho taxpayers. It is a story that I hear over and over again as I travel the state, taxpayers tell me of being targeted by the tax commission, undergoing the agency's relentless nitpicking and reinterpretation of Idaho law. Sometimes it costs as much to fight an audit as the bill being proposed by the tax commission, so some choose just to pay up/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Have you had good/bad experiences with Idaho Tax Commission collectors/auditors?
When a cop stops an ordinary person for speeding, here's what happens: Perhaps the driver asks for a warning. He might contest the ticket in court. Or he pays up. But Wayne Hoffman is no ordinary person. As executive director of the libertarian-leaning Idaho Freedom Foundation, Hoffman bestrides an organization with an ample but mysterious source of cash that at times has proven to be among the most influential legislative lobbies in Idaho. His Idaho Freedom Index rates lawmakers from high to low on their conservative credentials. The rating can help or break Republicans running in a low-turnout, closed GOP primary. Hoffman also supervises IdahoReporter.com, an online news service that some criticize as serving IFF's political agenda. And his own weekly column gets picked up by a handful of Idaho newspapers. That's a considerable political arsenal in the hands of a man who sounds like he may use it. Why? Because Hoffman got a speeding ticket and he's not happy about it.
Question: What do you make of Hoffman continuing to fight a speeding ticket for going 71 in a 55 in Kootenai County?
It seems I offended a great number of people with last week’s column regarding my speeding ticket that a quick follow-up appears appropriate. First, as an update, I entered a plea of “not guilty” a few days ago. It seemed problematic for me to admit I violated Idaho Code 49-654(2)(E) for excessive speeding when that statute doesn’t exist. So I didn’t. Based on the comments, I know some people will be offended by my decision. Oh well. We all learn in fourth grade Civics that our system of government is comprised of three branches: legislative, judicial and executive. The legislative branch writes the law. The judiciary adjudicates the law and the executive carries out the law. The legislative process involves lawmakers agreeing on public policy and asking the executive branch to consent to those policy proposals by signing their legislation into law/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: I pleaded not guilty — and lost — to the only speeding ticket I ever received, when I was 18 years old. Have you ever fought a traffic violation?
Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation argues reasonably against a memorial pushed by six Canyon County legislators, asking the FCC to crack down on extramarital sex on TV. Writes Wayne:
Unlike Saudi Arabia’s bizarre and inexplicable pursuit of plaster dinosaurs, the target of Idaho lawmakers’ complaint regarding broadcast television is obvious. There’s no question there’s more sex and sexual innuendo on television. But there’s also more television. Channels and programs abound. Some lawmakers think, because the Idaho Constitution requires the Legislature to promote “virtue” and “the purity of the home”that they must act. They shouldn’t, and here’s why: Whenever the government assumes the role of morality police, it is legally charged with dictating what consumers see and hear, or don’t see and hear. That means a government bureaucrat, or a board of government bureaucrats, makes the decisions for us, instead of allowing people in the free market to make the choices. More here.
Question: Are you surprised your on the same side of this issue as Wayne Hoffman? Or are you?
Let’s consider Big Bird a canary in the coal mine of government waste. If Big Bird is still alive—or at least still living off the government’s largess—after the politicians have done their level best to slim down the government, it will be obvious that the grownups in Washington, D.C., haven’t gotten serious about deficit spending. All this to say Mitt Romney was partly correct about Big Bird when he brought up the Sesame Street character in the presidential debate recently. He actually didn’t go far enough, perhaps because of the constraints of the debate. Or because the position I’d like him to take might be unpopular with people who believe they have a constitutional right to taxpayer-supported Muppets. (Hint: They don’t). Tax dollars should not go to support public television, or, by extension, Big Bird. Romney was, of course, correct that the government should be willing to cut PBS no matter how much we like Big Bird and all his cohorts/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Hoffman goes on to say that he'd want to cut funding to PBS, even if the treasury was swimming in the black. Do you agree?
I have read just about every school labor union agreement in the state and have yet to find a single one that was written to protect the interests of children, their safety and the availability of classroom supplies. I point this out simply because the labor unions have released a new ad in opposition to Proposition 1. The unions are asking you to vote no using a sanctimoniously deceptive rationale for why they believe the law to be bad public policy. “Prop 1 prohibits teachers from negotiating over important things like overcrowded classrooms, supplies and student safety,” says the newest ad from the Vote No crowd. From this, you should draw upon imagery of teachers in chainmail plunging their swords through the leathery chests of those uncaring, fiendish school board members and smiting the villainy from their evil beating hearts, all for the betterment of students. Great scenes for a movie script, I should think. But Prop 1 isn’t about teachers fighting for students. Prop 1 is about union bosses fighting for unions. Prop 1 is about union power, nothing more/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Is it good practice for Republicans to attack the teachers union?
The education labor union has reached a new milestone in lowness, attempting to turn Idaho voters into Luddites and depict kids as klutzes in order to satisfy a selfish agenda. Witness its first ad against Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Says the ad: “Prop 3 replaces teachers with computers by requiring that taxpayers fund laptops for high school students.” Not true. The law requires schools start using technology, and that mobile computing devices — which covers more than laptops, by the way, be part of the regular curriculum. It does not replace teacher with computers, robots, androids or holograms. The ad also claims that “the Legislature failed to fully fund the laptops required by Prop 3.” Also not true, which makes the further allegation, that the law will cause property taxes to go up, also erroneous/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
Question: Have you seen the ad? What do you think of it?
For the next several months, I expect Obamacare to dominate public policy discussions both nationally and on a state level. Regardless of the outcome of the November election, state lawmakers will still be faced with two questions: First, should the state implement a health insurance exchange as part of the president’s health care overhaul? Second, should the state expand Medicaid to include more affluent people than under the current program that generally provides health coverage for the poor and disabled? These aren’t just public policy questions for lawmakers; these are questions for every day Idahoans whose legislators will be asked in January to implement Obamacare. So we wanted to know what the public thinks—of Obamacare generally and of the implantation of the law specifically. In a public opinion poll conducted at the end of August, we asked 600 Idaho registered voters whether the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the health care law was “good for the country.” A mere 23 percent of respondents said “yes” while 61 percent said “no”/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.
DFO: Yeah, I know we discussed this as part of a post by blogger Dennis Mansfield. Here, I'm offering Hoffman's view of the poll.
New York City's proposed ban on super-sized sodas is an insufferable “nanny state overreach.” But Idaho's ban on Five Wives vodka could be worse, says Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a conservative lobbying group. Idaho's state-run liquor dispensary banned the Utah-produced Five Wives brand, saying its references to polygamy could offend Mormons. Writes Hoffman, in his weekly column: “Neither state law nor the regulations of the liquor division provide a mechanism for the director to ban the sale of a product based on perceived offensiveness. And nowhere in state law or state regulations are the standards for what might be deemed offensive or how that determination might be made”/Kevin Richert, Statesman (w/full column by Wayne Hoffman of Idaho Freedom Foundation). More here. (AP photo)
Question: Which ban do you consider worse — Idaho's ban on Five Wives Vodka? Or New York's ban on super-sized sodas?
Briana LeClaire was a founding director of the board of the Idaho Freedom Foundation when it opened in 2009 as a free-market lobbying and policy shop. After a year, LeClaire left the board and for two years has been the education policy analyst for the group that advocates school choice, including private school vouchers and home, virtual and charter schools. IFF backed Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna’s “Students Come First” laws, which are subject to repeal by voters in November. IFF Executive Director Wayne Hoffman said he fired LeClaire Tuesday. “I really don’t feel it is appropriate to discuss employee matters in the press,” Hoffman said. “I will tell you that I have a duty to our donors and my board. I try to honor that duty and our donors' generosity through responsible and thoughtful management of Idaho Freedom Foundation. That means making tough decisions”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Dustin Hurst left for a job in Helena, Mont., recently and now Wayne Hoffman has fired Briana LeClaire. What's up with Idaho Freedom Foundation?
At the Lewiston Tribune, opinionator Marty Trillhaase thanks Wayne Hoffman of the right-wing Idaho Freedom Foundation for revealing true intent of the new closed primaries pushed by the Idaho GOP — to out the politics of certain people: “Here's what he told the Tribune's Brad Gary: 'I never said I was going to go around and make an effort to publish that information. I said that information would be useful.' Useful? To whom? Certainly to political parties. Election after election, the Idaho GOP will compile a list of its reliable voters. Its base. The people it can count on to turn out at the polls. To put up yard signs. To contribute money. The party also can identify the people who switch in and out of its ranks, voting in a GOP election this year and a Democratic contest the next. These Republicans in Name Only are the kind of people the GOP wants to cull from its ranks and certainly from its roll of candidates. But there's also room for mischief.” More here.
Question: Do you mind letting the Idaho Republican Party know which way you vote?
In the final few days of this legislative session, as capitol reporters were scurrying to wrap up stories on the big budget items regarding teacher pay, tax cuts and restoring the state’s “rainy day” fund, they unexpectedly found themselves grappling with a far more personal issue: namely, should they vote in our May primary. The issue was instigated by the belief that Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom (how ironic is this?) Foundation was about to use the Republican Party’s new closed primary arrangement as a means of discovering — and then proclaiming to all who care — the bias of the media. The closed primary shindig inflicted upon us requires us to either register as a Republican to vote in the Republican primary or to request a Democratic ballot. That choice immediately becomes a public record — able to be discovered by all and then communicated to everyone/Publisher John Pfeifer, Twin Falls Times-News. More here. (Ag Weekly photo: Dan Pfeifer)
Question: Publisher John Pfeifer goes on to say that he will encourage his political and government reporters to exercise their right to vote — and damn the critics who'll take note of which ballot they select. Do you agree with his approach?
In her Idaho Press Club President's Column for the spring newsletter, SR colleague Betsy Russell tells of a dilemma facing us journalists in Idaho this spring. We have to decide whether or not to vote in the primaries, which for the first time will require party affiliation. Seems Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation has hinted that he might track how Idaho journalists vote & in which primary they vote. Betsy says she has no problem complying with SR rules that journalists are not to take part in a party-run event designed for partisans, like a caucus. But a primary is another matter, especially in Republican-dominated Idaho where primaries often decide who wins the general election. Betsy goes on to say that she's been warned by Editor Gary Graham that a vote by her in the primary could compromise her ability to cover government & politics. (Gary has told me that I'm in a different situation in that I'm an opinion writer with well known political proclivities. Read: I'm going to vote the Republican ticket, Wayne.)
Question: Do you think it's right that journalists are somewhat disenfranchised by the Idaho GOP push to require party affiliation at the primary polls?