True to form, lawmakers are trying to impress you with a handful of breadcrumbs from the 2022 legislative session, including a small tax break and some pro-life and pro-gun legislation. It’s an election year, after all, and people in office will do their best to make it sound as if their lawmaking made Idaho more conservative than when they arrived in Boise.
The breadcrumbs are just a cover for the real story of what happened during the winter in Boise: How special interests and the media conspired with elected officials to grow government and keep individuals and families under the state’s big boot.
The Legislature and Gov. Brad Little passed a bill to fully fund the continued social justice indoctrination programs on our college and university campuses and increasing spending on higher education by 7.5%. This rewards the schools for defying the Legislature’s instruction last year to cut radical left-wing programs. The Legislature also refused to do anything to fully prohibit the well-documented existence of critical race theory and the sexualization of children taking place in our public schools, all of which has been ignored by the legacy media.
Lawmakers rejected proposals to expand education choice and protect parental rights. Apart from a small cut to the budget for the Idaho Commission for Libraries budget, lawmakers did nothing to stop the exposure of children to obscene materials and the grooming of youngsters into accepting gender fluidity.
Instead, lawmakers signed on to Little’s idea of expanding government-run education by enacting “free” full-day kindergarten, before- and after-school programs, and more summer school programs.
This was also the year for “out-of-control-and-headed-for-the-abyss” spending. Contrary to what elected officials and the media are saying because of some covered up accounting gimmicks, the actual growth in state general fund spending is above 20%. This is the real reason why tax relief was so pathetically small even though the state had a $1.9 billion surplus; they couldn’t afford to dramatically lower property taxes or get the income tax to near zero.
Blame it all on the spending lawmakers and the governor laughingly try to label as “investments.” Those boil down into handouts of millions of dollars in taxpayers’ hard earned money for the dairy industry, the healthcare industry, teachers, and developers, among others.
Meanwhile, lawmakers in both the House and Senate rejected on multiple occasions efforts to repeal the grocery tax. Little, who pledged to repeal the grocery tax four years ago, sat by and did nothing.
It was such a banner legislative session for leftists that it’s no wonder both Republicans and Democrats are thriving on the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry’s scorecard, which I will henceforth call the “Boise Swamp Index.” The Swamp Index gives a 93 percent to Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder, who unilaterally decided to block legislation to protect Idahoans from mask and vaccine mandates, end the governor’s state of emergency, prevent kids from being exposed to obscene materials in Idaho’s school and public libraries, and keep children from having their sex characteristics surgically or chemically altered.
The leftists won this last legislative session. Don’t let a small tax break or the passage of an abortion or gun bill trick you into believing otherwise.
Wayne Hoffman serves as president of Idaho Freedom Action.