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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Balanced Budgets Required by Idaho Constitution

THE GUARDIAN loves to sit down the the Sunday paper and ruminate through page by page with a few cups of coffee in my recliner, feet up, shoes off, and no interruptions.

Today the OUR VIEW editorial deserves some comments regarding the balanced budget the State Legislature hammered out this year. The session was not pretty but all the participants knew they had to come away with a balanced budget and going into hock or a payday loan for pet projects was not an option.

Our State Constitution requires a balanced budget... NO EXCEPTIONS! The politicos addicted to the easy pay plan have been trying to dismantle this requirement since it was put into the Idaho State Constitution. Framers of the Idaho Constitution meant for it to be difficult to go into debt. They used a good deal of 20/20 hindsight as they watched cities and counties all over the western United States go bankrupt spending money they did not have (easy credit) to build infrastructure hoping to lure economic development of their cities and counties. Bond defaults were very common back in the day.

We are fortunate to have Article VIII sec. 3 that forbids any government entity to go out beyond one budget cycle for any debt liability or obligation without 2/3rds assent of the voters. The "Easy Credit" bunch has made numerous assaults on the "non-appropriation clause over the years. Their one success story at circumventing voters is Urban Renewal law. Urban renewal agencies are the dirty little secret most people don't know much about and the "easy credit" politicos want to keep it that way.

Urban Renewal taxation, borrowing and projects bypasses all of the Idaho Constitutional provisions of seeking voter approvals before going into long term debt. Urban Renewal agencies all over the state can issue revenue bonds for millions of dollars on projects having nothing to do with removing blight. The Mayors of Caldwell and Nampa and their urban renewal agencies are shining examples of how to spend millions in the name of "boosterism and favoritism" without your vote. Urban renewal money comes from property taxes. Urban renewal districts pay nothing for schools, police, fire, parks, streets. libraries, ambulance or any thing property taxpayers are forced to support.

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