As a lifelong resident of North Idaho, I am quite familiar with the natural resources industries. Mining, logging and agriculture have been an integral part of the economy for over 100 years in North Idaho. Over the last 25 years there has been an alarming decrease in natural resource based employment. These industries have been regulated virtually out of business through environment regulations, trade agreements and multiple lawsuits. These industries have always been willing to comply to new regulations to do their part, however, it has proven to be detrimental. I support natural resource based industry and will support legislation for these industries to remain a viable part of North Idaho’s economy.
Jobs and the Economy
I support a positive business climate in Idaho and the continued recruitment of companies that pay good wages and offer good benefits. A recent example in the Post Falls area of these types of companies are the relocation of Cabella’s, Buck Knives and Sysco Foods. The Idaho legislature needs to continue to support legislation that offers advantages and incentives to these type of companies as they pay well above the average wage and offer good employee benefits.
A positive business climate leads to inreased profitability of the companies and new hiring of employees. Idaho’s revenue stream comes from the so-called 3 legged stool; corporate income tax, personal income tax and sales tax. When companies are profitable, they pay more corporate income tax and hire new employees, leading to increased personal income tax for the state. The employees then use their paychecks to shop locally, which adds to the sales tax stream. It is a win-win situation, and will add to the vibrant economy of Idaho, allowing us to fund the critical programs that the state is required to provide.
Idaho’s revenue is based on a 3 legged stool; Corporate Income Tax, Personal Income Tax and Sales Tax. I will work for fiscal responsibility in government and fight hard against any proposals to raise these taxes. Property Taxes in Kootenai County have continued to escalate at a record pace. This has created quite a burden on numerous property owners. As State Senator I will pursue methods of relieving the burden of escalating property taxes.
Lake Coeur d’Alene and the Spokane River
The EPA is a heavy-handed federal beauracracy attempting to dictate to the residents of North Idaho their will to expand the superfund site to include the entire Coeur d’Alene Basin. I will fight for local control as we know best here in North Idaho how to protect and manage one of our most valuable natural resources. My wife and I own a home on the Spokane River and this is an issue that is very near and dear to us.
Today education takes on many forms. We have traditional K-12 public instruction, as well as Charter Academies, Virtual Academies, Project Schools and Bridge Academies. All are a part of the public education system. We also have parochial schools, any number of private schools and a growing desire for home-schooling.
I believe that all methods should be treated fairly and equally by the legislature. Parents deserve the right to choose how they educate their children, and should not be penalized for choosing one method over another.
I will work for continued improvements to Highway 95. In recent years we have made great strides in North Idaho. I will work hard to conitnue those improvements as Highway 95 is a key corridor between North and South Idaho. With those continued improvements, further public work should assist in spurring economic development along that corridor.
Also with a better highway will come better safety conditions as Highway 95 has been a death trap in past years. It has had a much higher rate of accident related deaths than the national averages for two lane highways.
I believe the continued protection and assessment of the Rathdrum Aquifer is a critical issue in District 3 and North Idaho. As the rapid growth in our area continues we need to make sure that we understand everything we can about the life of the aquifer and the amount of water being withdrawn from the aquifer. Water is a critical issue around this whole state and none more important than here at home in District 3.