August 6, 2012 in Letters, Opinion

Lease amounts minimal


Your July 3 editorial about cottage site lease costs was a nice campaign gift of spin to Idaho Attorney General Larry Wasden.

Your writer says, “For decades, cabin owners have paid preferential lease rates, depriving school, college and hospital endowments of revenues in the millions of dollars.” The implication is that if these 521 lessees had simply paid “fair” rent, Idaho Department of Education budget problems would be solved. In reality, the $5.7 million the endowment obtains from the lessees only amounts to less than one-half percent of the overall $2.4 billion education budget; on a 180-day school year, less than a half a school day.

So, why did the attorney general feel a need to sue the Land Board? Perhaps some board members have heard the stall warnings currently sounding in both lakes’ economies.

What are these stall warnings? No. 1: Lessees at Payette walking away and leaving the Idaho Department of Lands with zero annual payments. No. 2: The 2009 failure by IDL to surface even one bid at the auction for two leases at Priest Lake. Unfortunately, these IDL pilots want to ignore the stall warnings and keep pulling back on the stick, and watch these fragile vacation-based economies crash.

Bob Finley


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