Forget The Bowls And Playoffs, The Real Action Is Here
Hard to believe it's time for another season of this is your government, otherwise known as the Idaho Legislative Session. We'll hear the usual cast of characters vowing to get done early to save us money. The real reason for a short session, is that this year our esteemed public servants are on the clock. Have you ever wondered why we have a session every year? Since we are bound to balance the budget constitutionally, what new issues demand the expense of paying per diem, salary, and benefits for our part time legislators? If the big state of Texas can get by meeting twice a year, why can't Idaho?
Governor Otter will kick off the season with the state of the state. I'm sure we'll hear about the tough economy and the new businesses that have arrived in Idaho. The governor will give us a recap of his foreign trade trips and his vision of the future. It will be a preview of his re election campaign that will begin covertly during the session and overtly once the final gavel is heard.
Many wonder whether we will hear the governor speak of the state exchange? He's said he doesn't like it, but it's the world we live in. Could the governor derail many of his critics by announcing a plan to opt out of the state exchange? Will we hear the governor defend Idaho Core Standards as he has done in the past? Many conservatives in Idaho and across the country want Common Core out of their kids classrooms. The state education establishment wants to keep the standards. A strong statement by the governor will give his legislative supporters cover they'll need after the session as many are fearful of being primaried.
The rumor is that the proposed expansion of medicaid that has derailed Arizona Governor Jan Brewer will be an extremely tough sell. Brewer is now engaged in a law suit that has energized her opponents. Look for the expansion of fuel taxes to be brought as a trial balloon and the real effort to raise gas taxes to happen next year. This session will be a test for how much political fuel governor has left. He'll not want to anger an electorate that will decide his fate right after the session.
So as the usual suspects press their suits and hone their message, promising
fiscal restraint. The rest of us will be watching and waiting to see just how representative our state government is.