[Vision2020] End of Legislative Session Summary from Rep. Trail

Paul Rumelhart godshatter at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 5 21:57:22 PDT 2008

I'll just hit a few of these...

ttrail at moscow.com wrote:
>   4.  Do you support the idea of giving tax incentives to large industries,
> such as Micron Technology or Areva?

I don't think we should give special incentives to larger industries, at 
least not more than we should give to all industries.  Their size 
shouldn't matter.  I tend to distrust larger companies, because many of 
them seem to have gotten large by skimping on ethics ala Enron or 
Walmart.  However, I'm not against giving tax incentives to specific 
types of industries, if there is a need.

>  5.  The state has more than 70 sales tax exemptions on the books, some
> dating back to 1965.  Are all of them still viable, or have any outlives
> their usefulness?

The only exemption I've ever come across is the University's exemption 
to paying sales tax, and I agree with that one.  You're basically taxing 
money as it moves around, because the University is a State 
organization.  I'd have to see the list of others to make any 

>   7.  Do you support teacher merit pay?  If so, how do you decide which
> teachers deserve a pay raise?

I do support merit pay for teachers.  This would help us keep our better 
teachers longer, and maybe lure some others in from outside.  I suppose 
that it should be based on evaluations instead of test scores of 
students.  Once you start down that path, you end up only teaching what 
is going to be tested.

>   9.  Does Idaho need to tighten its day-care regulations?

I don't know if Idaho has any problems in this area, but I'd like to see 
stricter day-care employment regulations.  It seems a no-brainer to me 
that there should be criminal background checks and checks against the 
sex offender databases, at the least.  I'm not one of those that goes on 
witch hunts against ex-cons, but this does seem an appropriate place to 
be extra careful.  In the same vein, it would be wise to keep people 
convicted of embezzlement out of jobs where they keep track of money, 
and keep those who have been convicted of theft from getting keys to 
offices.  That being said, I'm against the idea of excluding people who 
have a record from all state jobs, regardless of whether their previous 
conviction was for something related to their job duties.

> 10.  When 85 percent of inmates have a drug or alcohol addiction should the
> state, expand drug treatment in prison and community treatment designed to
> help keep people from winding up behind bars?

If the State wants to lessen this problem, they would be better off 
legalizing marijuana or not prosecuting people for possession of 
marijuana and concentrate on the more addictive substances.  
Criminalizing all manner of drug-related offenses in this "War on Drugs" 
is severely over-populating our prisons and criminalizing people that 
would otherwise be good citizens.  However, since people can have drug 
or alcohol addictions and not be in prison for drug or alcohol-related 
charges, then I think it would be better overall if we did expand drug 
treatment in prisons and community treatment programs.

> 13.  Does Idaho need tighter ethic laws?  Should ex-lawmakers have to wait
> before taking lobbying jobs with private industry?

I think we do need tighter ethics laws all over the country.  I do think 
that ex-lawmakers should have to wait before taking lobbying jobs with 
private industry.  While this is bad news for the lawmakers that are 
actually trustworthy and dedicated to their causes, it would keep them 
from passing laws aimed at helping their future employers while they are 
still in office.  I don't know what time period, but a few years at least.

> 15.  Should the state's agencies study climate change and Idaho's
> contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

Yes.  I'd prefer if we concentrated on eliminating our dependence upon 
oil for economic and political reasons which are already affecting us, 
in addition to environmental ones.  Climate change has such possible 
impacts on our state that studying it seems like a good idea, though. 

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