Two important issues face Idahoans at the back of the ballot. Many people may not even look that far back or take the time to read the questions, but they should.
The questions are laid-out in a way to confuse and misinform voters. The first question expects voters to comprehend state legislature legal wording and the second question gaslights us. While an explanation is provided for question 1, it is incomplete in its explanation and misses the entire point of the Amendment. Despite this deception, there are positives to this Amendment.
Question 1: SJR102
The first ballot question is a Constitutional Amendment that would allow Legislators to convene the Legislature if 60% of both chambers agree via a petition. There are several pros and cons to such an idea.
Under the tyranny of RINO Brad Little, we have seen the Legislature be side-stepped time after time. We saw Little’s clenching of power with the forced mail-in ballot primary of 2020, mask mandates for kids in schools, vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, lockdowns, and lobbyist projects. There were many instances where our conservative legislature would have intervened and given us our freedom back if they had the ability.
There are also times where we deal with a budget surplus at the end of Legislative Sessions and the Legislature is reliant on the Governor to call a Special Session. The state Legislative cycle is not year-round, but everyday life is, and politics is too. It could be very useful to have a Legislature who can step in to represent their Constituents if need be. Petitions on these issues would have to be applied situationally and narrowly for lawfulness and to obtain the necessary 60% support.
This action will exist beyond Little’s reign as Governor. This could result in positive changes enacted by citizens promoting good ideas to their Legislator. As a co-equal branch of government, there are times to assert.
The unpredictability is both a pro and a con, however it is a more likely con. Governments typically function in a clunky, bureaucratic, and anti-citizen fashion so we should not give them more power willy-nilly. The Idaho Legislature has proven to be good and bad, sometimes very bad. They are a mix of liberals, RINOs, good ol’ boys, knuckleheads, moderates, independent thinkers, and liberty champions. Many are unresponsive and have their minds made up, sometimes because of special interest money and backroom deals.
The Legislature could abuse this power and disturb the livelihoods of regular people with unwanted politics and government cronyism. Covid has given us reason to want a check on Governor Little’s power, but what if we had a real conservative as Governor and a big government, liberal Legislature that fights liberty year-round. Legislators should not be year-round.
This battle is between our trust for the Legislature or the Governor. Many bad actors exist in the Legislature and in recent Idaho history, a bad actor has always held the Governor’s office. Though many poor actions are made by Legislators in our state, they are more trustworthy than the Governor. If abused, We The People will fight it via another ballot initiative. We should vote YES on SJR102.
Question 2: Quality Education Act
The second question is deceiving on purpose, it is designed for common people to support it. It includes lowering taxes, returning surplus money, and funding education. This is the designated plan supported by the Establishment and makes us think we cannot get all of our money back.
A budget surplus means that the state government is totally appropriated for, and taxpayers were overtaxed. In this case, we were overtaxed by $1.4 Billion and there is an additional $600 Million in the rainy-day fund. This should all go back to the people who funded it. There are issues that make negating this proposal reasonable as well.
The pros to supporting this proposal is that we get $500 Million refunded to taxpayers and $150 Million in income tax cuts. There is an additional $410 Million spent on education, you can call that a pro or a con if you’d like. This proposal would get money back in the hands of regular Idahoans. There is also reason to cut taxes, so the surplus issue does not continue to arise. And while schools need more money, how long are we going to allow public schools to be funded through surpluses and levies?
The majority of the Surplus will stay in the hands of the government that stole it from us. Public schools are owed some tax dollars, but it should not be at the expense of our overfunded dollars. We also see that money spent in schools is not always for education or teaching children properly. Critical race theory, gay pronouns, Communism, and anti-God teachings are in the public-school classrooms in Idaho. Throwing more money at this problem has not helped our state in the past. Test scores continue to struggle, and children deserve quality education without political influence.
The other major issue is that $500 Million of our tax dollars remains with the state government to be spent on who knows what. The question is if we can trust the Legislature to return the Surplus in the first session. Everyone should be contacting candidates now and asking if they support returning the full surplus to the people. Assuming that the Legislature should be more conservative after this election, especially the State Senate, there is reason to believe they will be better stewards of returning the surplus than this ballot measure does.
Brad Little cannot be trusted with our overtaxed money. If we have reason to think the Legislature will return the whole Surplus, vote NO. If you believe a better deal will not be brokered, vote yes. We deserve the whole surplus and, on that principle, alone, I will vote NO on 2nd ballot measure.
Vote YES on Ballot Measure 1 and vote NO on Ballot Measure 2!
This Op-Ed was submitted by Jeff Braga. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: 2022 Idaho Election, 2022 Idaho General Election, Ballot, Brad Little, Constitutional Amendment, Education, Education Budget, Public Schools, Special Session