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I can’t buy into ‘blue management’, ‘high’ taxes, and attacks on schools

Recently I attended a forum sponsored by the Star Chamber of Commerce that featured legislative candidates from the new District 10 (Notus, Middleton and Star). All three seats–Senate, Rep A, and Rep B–included an experienced legislator and a Republican newcomer. The Senate seat also featured Democratic challenger Bob Solomon.

It was a glimpse of viewpoints opposite mine. The consensus among the three current legislators was that the House of Representatives was on the proper path; the Senate was a swamp in need of draining; and both houses suffered because Idaho has “blue management.”

The term “blue management” appears to be a new attempt to blame Democrats for problems Idaho is facing after 30 years of Republican rule. Don’t believe it.

If Democrats were managing things, we’d have kept the full home-owners exemption from property taxes, ended the sales tax on groceries, funded our schools better, and made plans for coping with growth and global warming.

And the highest ranking “blue manager” would not have signed a bill he or she knew would undermine “our constitutional form of government” and create “monetary incentives to wrongdoers and family members of rapists.”

The Republicans also praised themselves for giving Idaho a second large tax cut–the two resulting in most of $430 million going to the richest year after year–because our taxes had been higher than most states.


Higher? In 2019 only 19 states taxed at a lower rate per dollar than Idaho did; only three collected less taxes per person.

Somehow 19 states collecting less in taxes is more of a concern to Republicans legislators than 49 states spending more on education. (The legislature dumped a sizable amount of money on education this year, but most of it was one-time federal money.)

And, predictably, everything the Republicans had to say about schools seemed to come from the Republican National Committee playbook, starting with schools promoting Critical Race Theory and acceptance of trans individuals.

SEL (social and emotional learning), which seeks to help students build friendships and avoid bullies, was dismissed by one challenger who said only, “They are all Marxists. All of them.”

The connection totally escapes me.

And, of course, several Republican candidates supported giving all parents $6,000 to bestow on the school of their choice, including religious ones–or to keep for themselves by “homeschooling.”

One candidate even complained of the hidden curriculum of public schools–as though all public schools, everywhere, were part of a huge conspiracy dedicated to teaching children unspeakable things their parents didn't want them to know.

Why this big push to drive a wedge between people and their public schools? It started years ago as one more way to channel public money into private pockets. But now the RNC is acting more like an abusive spouse–separating us from one another in any way it can.

A nationwide University of Chicago survey released last month indicates that most Americans support schools tackling controversies. Nearly 60% opposed prohibiting teaching books about divisive topics. Over 70% thought schools taught about the right amount or too little about racism and about sex.

A BSU survey taken last November indicated that, not only do Idahoans support their schools, Republicans are the most positive. Fifty percent said schools in their district were good or excellent, compared to 43% of Democrats and 41% of Independents.

Don’t let some D.C. bureaucracy override what your experiences tell you is true.

Stay close to your schools–the teachers, administrators and board members. Talk to your kids and grandkids. Help where you can.

Being a good neighbor and supporting our kids–those are Idaho values.

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